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M O L I E R E 



With a Prefatory Memoir, Introductory Notices and Notes 




Horace Vernet, Desenne, Johannot and Hersent 












ConUdie- Ballet .................. 83 


Les Amants Magnifiques ............. j^q 


Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme ............. 193 


Tragedie- Ballet ................. 277 




THE MISER. Act I., Scene 3. 

L 1 Avare Frontispiece 


Comedie- Ballet 1 12 


Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme 224 





9TH SEPT. 1668. 


The Miser was first represented on the gth of September 1668, and was 
played nine times, though not consecutively. Two months afterwards, it 
was performed again, after it had been represented at Court ; and then it 
was acted eleven times. It was evidently not a success. And this is the 
more astonishing, because the murder of the lieutenant criminel Tardieu 
and of his wife two noted misers, who had been assassinated in their 
own house three years before was as yet not forgotten, and the author 
could therefore calculate upon a kind of curiosity to know how misers 
were represented on the stage, as well as on the intrinsic merit of the 
piece. Yet Moliere's play is crowded with general traits, and not with 
particular allusions. He had to paint a vice as hateful in reality as it is 
disagreeable to be depicted on the stage ; and he succeeded in doing 
this, whilst enlivening many scenes with the aid of funny characters or 
ridiculous incidents. 

It has been said that The Miser did not succeed so well as Moliere 
and his literary friends expected, because it was written in prose ; but 
several of Moliere's prose plays had already been represented in former 
years, and had met with great and deserved success. It has even been re- 
ported that Racine, who had quarrelled with Moliere, remarked one day 
to Boileau that he was the only one who was laughing during a repre- 
sentation of The Miser, whereupon Boileau replied, " I have too high an 
opinion of you to believe that you were not laughing yourself, at least 

Moliere's comedy is based on Plautus' Aulularia, of which we shall 
give an outline. 1 

" Euclio, a miserly old Athenian, has a daughter named Phaedria, who 
has been ravished by a young man named Lyconides, but is ignorant 
from whom she has received injury. Lyconides has an uncle named Me- 
gadorus, who, being ignorant of these circumstances, determines to ask 
Phaedra of her father in marriage for himself. Euclio has discovered a 
pot of gold in his house, which he watches with the greatest anxiety. In 
the meantime, Megadorus asks his daughter in marriage, and his proposal 
is accepted ; and while preparations are making for the nuptials, Euclio 
conceals his treasure, first in one place and then in another. Strobilus, 
the servant of Lyconides, watches his movements, and, having discovered 
it, carries off the treasure. Whilst Euclio is lamenting his loss, Lyconides 
accosts him, with the view of confessing the outrage he has committed on 

1 Riley, The Comedies of Plautus, I., Aulularia, p. 374. 


his daughter, and of announcing to him that his uncle, Megadorus, has 
cancelled his agreement to marry her in favour of himself. Euclio at first 
thinks that he is come to confess the robbery of the treasure. After much 
parleying, his mistake is rectified, and the matter is explained ; on which 
Lyconides forces Strobilus to confess the theft ; and (although the rest 
of the play in its original form is lost) we learn from acrostic argument 
that Strobilus gives up the treasure, and Lyconides marries the daughter 
of Euclio, and receives the gold for a. marriage-portion. The Supple- 
ment, written by Codrus Urcens, supplies the place of what is lost." 

Plautus' comedy has had many imitators before Moliere. Lorenzino 
de Medici, the murderer of the first Duke of Florence, Alexander, worked 
up Terence's Adelphi with Plautus' Aulularia, and his Mostellaria, or, 
the Haunted House, and formed of the whole a comedy called the Ari- 
dosio, which was cleverly translated in French by Pierre de Larivey, in 
1579, under the title of The Spirits. The miser Severin believes his 
house infested by evil spirits, and therefore thinks it safer to hide a purse, 
containing two thousand crowns, in a hole outside. His anxiety is very 
amusing to know where to hide his money, and at last he cries out, 
" Good Heavens ! it seems that everyone gazes at me ; the very stones 
and wood look at me. He ! my little hole, my darling, I recommend 
myself to you. Now then, in the name of Heaven and of Saint Anthony 
of Padua, in manus tuas, domine, commendo spiritum meum." In spite 
of his pious invocation, Desire, who wishes to be his son-in-law, and who 
had seen him hide the purse, steals it, but a long time elapses before the 
miser finds it out, and when at last the robbery is discovered, he breaks 
out in a rage. The miser's brother comes to tell him that his money is 
found again, but he does not believe it. Finally, his daughter is married 
to Desire, and his son Urbain to Feliciane, a girl whom the latter had 
seduced, and whose father, a Protestant, comes expressly from La Ro- 
chelle, to give her a splendid dowry, and to be present at the wedding. 

Although Moliere owes several scenes to the Italian play of Lorenzino 
de Medici, he is more indebted to Plautus, from whom he borrowed the 
idea of making the miser his chief character. He also took some scenes 
from Ariosto's / Suppositi ( The Fictitio us Characters), and from several 
of the commedia dell" arte, such as L' Amante tradito ( The betrayed 
Lover), La Comeriera nobile (The noble- torn Ladies-maid), Le Case 
svaliggiate (The robbed House ,) 11 doctorBachettone (The bigoted Doctor), 
and also one scene from The Fair Female Plaintiffe, a comedy by Bois- 
robert. The Miser is one of the comedies of Moliere, which contains 
more imitations or reminiscences than any other of his plays ; and yet 
his genius has so welded the whole that Goethe has declared that it 
possesses extraordinary grandeur, and is in a high degree tragical. This 
is chiefly because Moliere clearly brings out the consequences of extreme 
avarice, which is, that all family ties are thereby destroyed, all human 
feelings eradicated, and all natural affections effectually rooted up. 
Horace had already observed this in his Eighth Satire ; but Moliere de- 
velops it with great force and energy, and shows how the miser cares only 
for his money, and considers his children as his enemies, how the son 
takes up loans at any price, and how the daughter has an intrigue with 
her lover, disguised as a steward. 

J. J. Rousseau considered that though it is wrong to be a miser, and to 
lend money at an usurious interest, yet it is more wrong for a son to rob 
his father, to be wanting in respect to him, and, when his father gives him 
his malediction, to reply, '' I want none of your gifts." The critic ap- 


pears to have forgotten that Moliere's duty as a dramatist was to exem- 
plify the consequences of vice, and to show to the spectators that a miser- 
ly father must produce a spendthrift son, and that a parent who neglects 
all his duties will be punished by the insolence and want of feeling dis- 
played by the very children whom he has neglected. 

MoliSre's miser moves in rather a fashionable sphere ; he has horses, a 
carriage, several servants, and even a steward. Of course, his position in 
society compels him to keep them, and therefore the contrast is all the 
stronger between the pangs caused by his avarice, and the necessity which 
obliges him to keep up a certain appearance. He has horses, but they 
starve ; servants who are neither clothed nor dressed ; a steward whom he 
does not pay, and who seems a meaner fellow than he is himself. He 
wishes to give an entertainment ; but it must cost- him nothing, just as he 
desires his daughter to be married, without giving her a dowry. His fall- 
ing in love and of course even misers can feel an inferior sort of love 
deepens only the more the traits of his avarice, and in the end he prefers 
lei beaux yeux de sa cassette to those of the object of his affections. 

There exists a Chinese comedy, called Khanthsian-non ( The Slave of 
the riches which he guards}, which depicts a miser from his earliest youth 
until his death. His end, above all, is characteristic. His son has bought 
for the sick man twopence-halfpenny's worth pease-pudding, instead of one 
farthing's worth, as his father had told him. The dying man observes the 
sum which his son has disbursed, which makes him very uneasy ; and 
when, finally, he is at his last gasp, he advises his son to bury him for 
economy's sake in an old horse-trough which is behind the house; to cut 
him in two if his body should be too long ; and, above all, because his 
bones are rather hard, not to use his own axe, but to borrow his neighbour's. 
This is a frightful example of " the ruling passion strong in death." 

In the first volume of the translation of '' Select Comedies of M. de 
Moliere, London, 1732," this play is dedicated to his Royal Highness, the 
frince of Wales, in the following words : 


The Refin'd Taste you are so well known to have in the Publick Diversions, 
and the peculiar Encouragement, which You have given to Theatrical Entertain- 
ments, have embolden'd the Translators of the following Work to implore Your 
Favour and Protection. 

It is intended, SIR, to publish all the Comedies of Moliere in the same manner in 
which the Miser now appears to Your ROYAL HIGHNESS : and tho' we are very 
sensible that it cannot be of the least Advantage to Your better understanding of 
the Original Author, yet, as it may prove very serviceable to our present Dra- 
matick Writers, and assist 'em in producing Entertainments more agreeable to 
Nature, Good Sense, and Your ROYAL HIGHNESS'S Taste, we humbly hope that 
you will not look on it as an useless undertaking. 

It may be thought perhaps a malicious, an ill-grounded Suggestion, to insinuate 
that those amongst us, who presume to write for the Stage, are either unacquainted 
with Molitre, or ignorant of his Language ; but I fear Your ROYAL HIGHNESS has 
too frequently experienced the one, and from thence very naturally concluded the 
other. The present Productions of the Theatre are most of 'em such crude un- 
meaning Rhapsodies, so foreign to Truth, Vertue, and Politeness, and so void of 
all the rules both of Poetry and Grammar, that the authors of 'em may justly be 
suspected of Ignorance in the living Languages as well as in the Dead. But Your 
ROYAL HIGHNESS wants no more to be informed of their Defects, than of Molitre' t 
Perfections ; as You know how to taste and enjoy the one, so You as readily can see 
thro', and contemn the others, tho' You are led, by the abundance of Your Can- 
dour and Good-nature, not entirely to reject 'em. Moliere, SIR, has been trans- 
lated into most of the Languages, and patroniz'd by most of the Princes in 
Europe ; but if we have been capable of doing him as much Justice in our Ver- 
sion, as we have been prudent enough to do him in the choice of a Patron, he'll 


be more happy in speaking English than in all the rest ; and we shall be esteemed 
as good Guardians of Moliere's Fatherless Muse, as we really are, SIR, Your 
ROYAI. HIGHNESS'S most obedient and most devoted humble Servants, 


Several English dramatists have partly borrowed from Moliere. The 
first was Mr. Shadwell, who added above eight new characters to the 
French play, called it also The Miser, and had it acted at the Theatre 
Royal in 1671. In the Preface he states : 

" The foundation of this play I took from one of Moliere's, called L'- 
Avare ; but that having too few persons, and too little action for an Eng- 
lish theatre, I added to both so much, that I may call more than half of 
this play my own ; and I think I may say without vanity, that Moliere's 
part of it has not suffered at my hands ; nor did I ever know a French 
comedy made use of by the worst of our Poets, that was not bettered by 
them. It is not barrenness of wit or invention, that makes us borrow 
from the French, but Laziness ; and this was the occasion of my making 
use of L'Avare . . . The great haste I made in writing made me very 
doubtful of the success of it, which was the reason that at first I did not 
own it, but concealed my name." 

But Shadwell is not satisfied with this, and in the Prologue says : 

" French plays, in which true wit's as rarely found, 
As mines of silver are on English ground . . . 
But stay, I've been too bold ; methinks I see 
The English Monsieurs rise in mutiny, 
Crying, Confound him ! does he damn French plays, 
* The only pieces that deserve the Bays ? 

France, that on Fashion does strict laws impose, 

The universal monarchy for clothes, 

That rules our most important part, our dress, 

Should rule our wit, which is a thing much less. 

But, Messieurs, he says, farther to provoke ye, 

He would as soon be author of Tu Quoque 

As any farce that e'er from France was sent . . . 

For our good-natured nation thinks it fit 

To count French toys, good wares ; French nonsense, wit." 

I can understand the bitterness of the burly old 'Whig dramatist against 
France. I can even find an excuse for his not understanding French wit 
for the plea may be brought forward of a want of appreciation by dis^ 
pensation of Providence, but surely it is too much to say what he states 
in the Preface, that the worst English poets better every French comedy 
which they use. His lofty idea of his own and his professional brethren's 
dramatic capacities, and their pretended independence of French wit 
whilst, at the same time, they pilfer the grandest conceptions, as well as 
the smallest trifles, of Gallic dramatists, has come down to a much later 
time, and is perhaps not unknown even in the present day. 

Voltaire remarks on Shadwell's preface, " that if a man has not wit 
enough to conceal his vanity better, he has not wit enough to do better 
than Moliere. 

Fielding's play, The Miser, professedly taken from Plautus and Moliere 
was acted at Drury Lane Theatre on the i/th of February 1733. It was 
dedicated to Charles, duke of Richmond and Lennox, and in the Preface 
he speaks of dedicating Moliere to his Grace, and calls himself a transla- 
tor. In the prologue it is said : 


" To-night our Author treats you with Moliere, 
Moliere, who nature's inmost secrets knew ; 
Whose potent pen, like Kneller's pencil, drew. 
In whose strong scenes all characters are shewn, 
Not by low jests, but actions of their own. 
Happy our English bard, if your applause 
Grant has not injur'd the French author's cause. 
From that alone arises all his fear ; 
He must be safe, if he has saved Moliere." 

This is very discriminating praise of Moliere's play. In all the scenes 
which Fielding has imitated from Moliere, he has nearly literally followed 
him. The chief difference is that, in Fielding's play, the servant man and 
maid have more scenes allotted to them than in the French comedy ; that the 
maid, Lappet, in connivance with Mariana, succeeds in getting a bond of 
ten thousand pounds from Lovegold, the miser, to be forfeited, in case he 
should refuse to marry the young lady : that the latter frightens him, by 
giving the most extravagant orders to different tradesmen, who make their 
appearance, and by ordering a repast on a most elaborate scale ; that, 
finally, Lovegold endeavours to bribe Lappet to swear a robbery against 
Mariana, who, like a regular English girl, has far more spirit, and is far 
more active I would nearly have said is more intriguing than her 
French prototype. It has been justly said of Fielding's Miser that " it has 
the value of a copy from a great painter by an eminent hand.'' 

The Miser has been translated by Michael de Boissy, 1752, but it has 
never been performed. 

Mr. Edward Tighe also made of The Miser a farce in one act, whilst 
James Wild, prompter at Covent Garden Theatre, reduced it to three acts, 
and had it played in the year 1792. 

In 1856, Engelbertus Saegelken published at Bremen the thesis, De 
Mollerii Fabula Avari, which he defended for his degree of Doctor of 
Philosophy, and which was dedicated to the Rector of the University of 
that town. His object is to find out and examine in how far Moliere has 
followed Plautus' Aulularia ; the points of resemblance and of difference 
between Euclio and Harpagon. He compares the first Scene of the first 
Act and the fourth Scene of the fourth Act of Plautus' comedy with the 
third Scene of the first Act and the same Scene of the third Act of Mo- 
liere's Miser ; states that the Latin dramatist holds to the unities, but not 
the French one, and discusses Schlegel's dictum that Moliere has brought 
all the genuine features of avarice into one man as if the miser who 
buried his treasure in the ground was of the same kind as he who makes 
money by usury. Saegelken thinks this is not a fair indictment against 
Moliere, and concludes by giving the opinions of some learned critics. 


HARPAGON, father to Cleante and Elise, in love with Ma- 

CLEANTE, Harpagon' s son, Mariane 's lover. 
VALERE, son of Anselme, Elise's lover. 
ANSELME, father to Valere and Mariane. 

MASTER JACQUES, cook and coachman to Harpagon. 
LA FLECHE, Cleante' s valet. 


> Harpagon s lacqueys? 


ELISE, Harpagon 1 s daughter, Valere' s sweetheart. 

MARIANE, Cleante' s sweetheart, beloved by Harpagon. 

FROSINE, a designing woman. 

MISTRESS CLAUDE, Harpagon' s servant. 

The scene is in PARIS, in HARP AGON'S HOUSE. 

2 This part was played by Moliere himself. His dress was a cloak, 
breeches and doublet of black satin, ornamented with coarse black silk 
iace, hat, wig, and shoes. Harpagon is derived, according to some com- 
mentators, from the Latin harpago, a hook, itself formed from a Greek 
word ; hence a man with crooked fingers, to which everything sticks ; the 
Latin word is twice used in the Aulularia. Luigi Grotto, the author of 
Emilia (see Introductory Notice to The Blunderer, Vol. I., page 3), had 
already given the name to a miser. But may the word Harpagon not be 
connected with harpon, a harpoon, and harper, to seize with the nails, 
from the old high German harfan, to seize? 

s Brindavoine means literally " oat-stalk," and la Merltiche " stock- 
fish ;" both lacqueys being probably so named on account of their ema- 
ciated appearance. 

* The original has Commissaire, see Vol. I., The School for Husbands, 
page 261, note 5. 


(L'A VARE). 



VAL. Eh, what ! charming Elise, you are growing mel- 
ancholy, after the kind assurances which you were good 
enough to give me of your love ! Alas ! I see you sighing 
in the midst of my joy ! Tell me, is it with regret at 
having made me happy? And do you repent of that en- 
gagement to which my affection has induced you? 5 

EL. No Valere, I cannot repent of anything that I do 
for you. I feel myself attracted to it by too sweet a 
power, and I have not even the will to wish that things 
were otherwise. But, to tell you the truth, our success 
causes me uneasiness; and I am very much afraid of 
loving you a little more than I ought. 

VAL. Eh ! what is there to fear, Elise, in the affection 
you have for me ? 

EL. Alas ! a hundred things at once : the anger of a 
father, the reproaches of my family, the censure of the 
world; but more than all, Valere, the change of your 
heart, and that criminal coolness with which those of your 
sex most frequently repay the too ardent proofs of an in- 
nocent love. 

5 The engagement Val&re mentions is a reciprocal marriage promise, 
signed by himself and Elise only the day before ; hence his joy. He ex- 
Dlains this fully, Act v., Scene 3. 



VAL. Ah ! do not wrong me thus, to judge of me by 
others ! Suspect me of anything Elise, rather than of 
failing in my duty to you, I love you too well for that : 
and my affection for you will last as long as my life. 

EL. Ah, Valere, every one talks in the same strain ! All 
men are alike in their words; their actions only show 
them to be different. 

VAL. Since actions only can show what we are, wait 
then, at least, to judge of my heart by them ; and do not 
search for crimes because you unjustly fear, and wrongly 
anticipate. Pray do not kill me with the poignant blows 
of an outrageous suspicion ; and give me time to convince 
you, by many thousand proofs, of the sincerity of my 

EL. Alas, how easily we are persuaded by those we 
love ! Yes, Valere, I hold your heart incapable of deceiv- 
ing me. I believe that you truly love me, and that you 
will be constant. I will no longer doubt of it, and I will 
confine my grief to the apprehensions of the blame which 
people may utter against me. 

VAL. But why this uneasiness? 

EL. I should have nothing to fear, if every one could 
see you with the eyes with which I look upon you ; and 
in your own person I see sufficient to justify me in what I 
do for you. For its defence, my heart pleads all your 
merit, supported by the help of a gratitude with which 
Heaven has bound me to you. At every moment I call 
to mind that supreme danger which first made us ac- 
quainted with each other ; that wonderful generosity 
which made you risk your life in order to snatch mine 
from the fury of the waves ; those most tender attentions 
which you lavished upon me, after having dragged me out 
of the water, and the assiduous homage of that ardent 
affection, which neither time nor obstacles have been able 
to discourage, and which, causing you to neglect relatives 
and country, detains you in this spot, and keeps your 
position unrecognized all on my account, and has reduced 
you to assume the functions of servant 6 to my father, in 

The original has domestique, which at that time meant simply " be- 
longing to the house of," and was not considered humiliating. 

scBNBi.l THE MISER. 13 

order to see me. All this produces, no doubt, a marvel- 
lous effect on me, and quite sufficient to justify, in my 
own eyes, the engagement to which I have consented ; 
but it is not perhaps enough to justify it in that of others, 
and I am not certain that the world will enter into my 

VAL. Of all that you have mentioned, it is only by my 
love that I pretended to deserve anything from you ; and 
as for the scruples which you have; your father himself 
takes but too good care to justify you before the world ; 
and the excess of his avarice, and the austere way in 
which he treats his children, might authorize stranger 
things still. Pardon me, charming Elise, for speaking 
thus before you. You know that, on that subject, no 
good can be said. But in short, if I can, as I hope I 
shall, find my relatives again, we shall have very little 
difficulty in rendering them favourable to us. I am 
impatient to receive some tidings of them ; and should 
they be delayed much longer, I will myself go in search 
of them. 

EL. Ah ! Valere, do not stir from this, I beseech you ; 
and think only how to ingratiate yourself with my 

VAL. You see how I go about it, and the artful wheed- 
ling which I have been obliged to make use of to enter 
his service ; beneath what mask of sympathy and affinity 
o." sentiments I disguise myself, in order to please him ; 
ar I what part I daily play with him, that I may gain his 
affection. I am making admirable progress in it; and 
experience teaches me that to find favour with men, there 
is no better method than to invest ourselves in their eyes 
with their hobbies ; than to act according to their maxims, 
to flatter their faults and to applaud their doings. One 
needs not fear to overdo this complaisance ; the way in 
which one fools them may be as palpable as possible ; even 
the sharpest are the greatest dupes when flattery is in the 
question; and there is nothing too impertinent or too 
ridiculous for them to swallow, if it be only seasoned with 
praises. Sincerity suffers somewhat by the trade which I 
follow ; but, when we have need of people, we must suit 
ourselves to their tastes ; and since they are to be gained 


over only in that way, it is not the fault of those who 
flatter, but of those who wish to be flattered? 7 

EL. But why do you not try to gain the support of my 
brother, in case the servant should take it into her head 
to reveal our secret? 

VAL. There is no managing them both at once; and 
the disposition of the father and that of the son are so 
opposed to each other, that it becomes difficult to arrange 
a confidence with both. But you, on your part, act upon 
your brother, and make use of the affection between you 
two, to bring him over to our interests. He is just coin- 
ing. I go. Take this opportunity of speaking to him, 
and reveal our business to him, only when you judge the 
fit time come. 

EL. I do not know whether I shall have the courage to 
entrust this confidence to him. 


CLE. I am very glad to find you alone, sister ; I was 
dying to speak to you, to unburden myself to you of a 

EL. You find me quite ready to listen, brother. What 
have you to tell me ? 

CLE. Many things, sister, all contained in one word. I 
am in love. 

EL. You are in love? 

CLE. Yes, I am in love. But before going farther, I 
know that I am dependent on my father, and that the name 
of son subjects me to his will; that we ought not to pledge 
our affection without the consent of those to whom we owe 
our life ; that Heaven has made them the masters of our 
affection, and that we are enjoined not to dispose of it but 
by their direction ; that, not being biassed by any foolish 
passion, they are less likely to deceive themselves than we 
are, and to see much better what is proper for us; that we 
ought rather to be guided by the light of their prudence 
than by the blindness of our passion ; and that the ardour 
of our youth often drags us to dangerous precipices. I tell 
you all this, sister, that you may save yourself the trouble 

T M.Genin has observed that this part of Val&re's speech is written in 
blank verse. 


of telling it to me; for, in short, my love will not listen to 
anything, and I pray you not to make any remonstrances. 

EL. Have you pledged yourself, brother, with her whom 
you love? 

CLE. No ; but I am determined to do so, and I implore 
you, once more, not to advance any reasons to dissuade me 
from it. 

EL. Am I then so strange a person, brother? 

CLE. No, sister; but you are not in love ; you are igno- 
rant of the sweet empire which a tender passion exercises 
over our hearts ; and I dread your wisdom. 

EL. Alas ! dear brother, let us not speak of my wisdom ; 
there is no one who does not fail in it, at least once in 
his life ; and were I to open my heart to you, perhaps I 
would appear less wise in your eyes than yourself. 

CLE. Ah ! would to Heaven that your heart, like mine 

EL. Let us first finish your affair, and tell me who it is 
whom you love. 

CLE. A young person, who has lately come to live in this 
neighbourhood, and who seems to be made to inspire love 
in all who behold her. Nature, sister, has created nothing 
more amiable ; and I felt myself carried away the moment 
I saw her. Her name is Mariane, and she lives under the 
protection of a good motherly woman who is nearly always 
ill, and for whom this dear girl entertains feelings of friend- 
ship not to be imagined. She waits upon her, condoles 
with her, and cheers her with a tenderness that would 
touch you to the very soul. She does things with the 
most charming air in the world ; a thousand graces shine 
through her every action, a gentleness full of attraction, a 
most prepossessing kindness, an adorable simplicity, a . . 
Ah ! sister, I wish you could have seen her ! 8 

EL. I see much, brother, in the things you tell me ; and 
to understand what she really is, it is sufficient that you 
love her. 

+i' ne , < t , he comm entators of Moliere. makes the iust remark, 
that the love of Cleante for Mariane is not only based upon her personal 
attractions, but upon her kindness, her simplicity, her gentleness So in 
Jl R Zl e * f Scapin, Molilre, following the Roman dramatist Ter- 

dS^'t^S ** H Ve ,! al V? 10VC ? ith H y acint he, when he sees her shed- 
ding tears at the death of her mother. 


CLE. I have learned, secretly, that they are not too well 
off; and that even their careful way of living has some 
difficulty in making both ends meet with the small means 
at their command. Imagine, dear sister, the pleasure it 
must be to improve the condition of her whom we love ; to 
convey delicately, some small assistance to the modest 
wants of a virtuous family ; and then conceive how annoy- 
ing it is to me to find myself, through the avarice of a father, 
powerless to taste that joy, and to be unable to show this fair 
one any proof of my love. 

EL. Yes, I can conceive well enough, brother, what must 
be your grief. 

CLE. Ah ! sister, it is greater than you can believe. 
For, in short, can anything be more cruel than this rigor- 
ous meanness that is exercised over us, this strange nig- 
gardliness in which we are made to languish ? What good 
will it do us to have means, when we shall no longer be of 
an age to enjoy them, and if, to maintain myself, I am 
now obliged to run in debt on all sides ; if I, as well as 
you, am obliged to crave daily the aid of tradesmen in 
order to wear decent clothes? In short, I wished to speak 
to you to help me to sound my father upon my present 
feelings ; and should I find him opposed to them, I am 
resolved to go elsewhere, with this dear girl, to enjoy 
whatever fortune providence may have in store for us. I 
have endeavoured to raise money everywhere for this pur- 
pose, and if your affairs, sister, are similar to mine, and if 
our father runs counter to our wishes, we shall both leave 
him, and emancipate ourselves from that tyranny in which 
his insupportable avarice has so long held us. 

EL. It is true enough that every day he gives us more 
cause to regret the death of our mother, and that . . . 

CLE. I hear his voice ; let us go a little farther to finish 
our confidences ; and afterwards we will join our forces to 
attack the ruggedness of his temper. 


HAR. Clear out of this immediately, and let me have 
no reply ! Get away out of my house, you consummate 
cheat, you true gallow's bird ! 

LA FL. (Astdi). I have never seen anything more 


vicious than this cursed old man ; and I really think I 
speak under correction that he has got the devil in him. 

HAR. You are muttering between your teeth ! 

LA FL. Why are you sending me away ? 

HAR. It well becomes you, you hang-dog, to ask me 
my reasons. Out with you, quickly that I may not knock 
you down. 

LA FL. What have I done to you? 

HAR. You have done so much to me that I wish you to 
get out. 

LA FL. Your son, my master, has ordered me to wait. 

HAR. Go and wait for him in the street, then ; but do 
not remain in my house, planted bolt upright as a sentry, 
taking notice of everything that goes on, and making the 
best use of it. I will not have a spy of my concerns eter- 
nally before my eyes, a wretch, whose cursed eyes watch 
every one of my actions, covet all I have, and ferret about 
everywhere to see if there is nothing to pilfer. 9 

LA FL. How the deuce could one manage to rob you ? 
Are you a likely man to have aught stolen from you, when 
you lock up everything, and keep guard day and night ? 

HAR. I shall lock up whatever I think fit, and keep 
guard as long as I please. A nice pass it has come to with 
these spies, who take notice of everything one does. 
{Softly, aside). I quake for fear he should suspect some- 
thing about my money. (Aloud}. Ah ! are you not just 
the fellow who would think nothing of bruiting the tale 
about that I have money hidden in my house ? 

LA FL. You have money hidden? 

HAR. No, you scoundrel, I do not say that. (To him- 
self}. I am bursting with rage. (Aloud}. I ask whether 
you would not from sheer malice, bruit the story about 
that I have some. 

LA FL. Eh ! what does it matter to us whether you have 
any or not, as long as it comes to the same thing to us ? 

HAR. (Lifting up his hand, to slap La Fleche's face). 
You are arguing the matter ! I will give you something 
for this reasoning on your ears. Once more, get out of 

9 This is imitated from the first scene of the first act of Plautus' Aulula- 
ria, where Eticlio, the miser, drives out the female slave, Staphyla. 

jg THE MISER. [ACT i. 

LA FL. Very well ! I am going. 

HAR. Wait : you are not taking anything away with 


LA FL. What should I take from you ? 

HAR. I do not know until I look. Show me your 
hands ? 

LA FL. Here they are. 

HAR. The others. 10 

LA FL. The others ? 

HAR. Yes. 

LA FL. Here they are. 

HAR. (Pointing to the breeches of La Fleche'). Have you 
put nothing in there? 

LA FL. Look for yourself! 

HAR. (Feeling the outside of La Fleche' s pockets} . Those 
wide breeches are just fit to become receivers for things 
purloined, and I wish one of them had been hanged at the 

LA FL. (Aside). Ah, how a man like this well deserves 
the thing he fears ! and how much pleasure I would have 
in robbing him ! 

HAR. Eh? 

LAFL. What? 

HAR. What are you muttering about robbing ! 

LA FL. I am saying that you feel carefully everywhere 
to see if I have robbed you. 

HAR. That is what I mean to do. (Harpagon fumbles 
in La Fie che 1 s pockets). 

LA FL. (Aside}. May the plague take avarice and all 
avaricious people ! 

HAR. What ! what are you saying ? 

LA FL. What am I saying ? 

10 This is again imitated from Plautus' Aulularia (Act iv., Scene 3), 
when Euclro asks Strobilus, the servant of Lyconides, whom he suspects 
of having robbed him, to show him his third hand. Chappuzeau, in the 
comedy of the Riche Vilain, printed in 1663, has also borrowed this trait 
from Plautus ; but he makes the servant Philipin reply to the miser, 
" Have I a dozen of hands? 1 In Tomkis' play Albumazar the Astrologer 
(Act iii., Scene 8), performed in 1616 at Trinity College, Cambridge, and 
an imitation of an Italian Comedy by Porta, Ronca answers Trinculo, who 
questions him in a similar manner, *' Think you me the giant with an hun- 
dred hands ?" 


HAR. Yes ; what are you saying about avarice and ava- 
ricious people? 

LA FL. I say may the plague take avarice and all ava- 
ricious people. 

HAR. To whom are you alluding? 

LA FL. To avaricious people. 

HAR. And who are they, these avaricious people ? 

LA FL. Villains and curmudgeons. 

HAR. But whom do you mean by that ? 

LA FL. What are you troubling yourself about ? 

HAR. I am troubling myself about what concerns me. 

LA FL. Do you think that I am speaking of you ? 

HAR. I think what I think ; but I wish you to tell me 
to whom you are addressing yourself when you say that. 

LA FL. I am addressing myself ... I am addressing 
myself to my cap. 

HAR. And I might address mvself to the head that is 
in it. 11 

LA FL. Will you prevent me from cursing avaricious 
people ? 

HAR. No : but I will prevent you from jabbering, and 
from being insolent. Hold your tongue ! 

LA FL. I name no one. 

HAR. I shall thrash you if you say another word. 

LA FL. Whom the cap fits, let him wear it." 

HAR. Will you hold your tongue ? 

LA FL. Yes, against my will. 

HAR. Ah! Ah! 

LA FL. (Showing Harpagon a pocket in his double f). 
Just look, there is another pocket ; are you satisfied ? 

HAR. Come, you had better give it up without my 
searching you. 

LAFL. What? 

HAR. What you have taken from me. 

LA FL. I have taken nothing at all from you. 

11 The original has, '' Je pourrais bien purler a to, barrette." In the 
Middle Ages, the front of the hood was called barrette, on account of the 
different ornaments which formed bars there. Hence parler a la barrette 
was a familiar term for scolding, and even for striking one. 

12 The original has " Qui se sent mtrveux, quilse mouche," " He that 
has a cold, let him blow his nose.'* 

20 THE MISER. [ ACT i. 

HAR. Assuredly? 

LA FL. Assuredly. 

HAR. Good-bye, then, and go to the devil. 

LA FL. (Aside). That is a pretty dismissal." 

HAR. I leave you to your own conscience, at least. 


There is a hang-dog of a valet who is very much in my 
way ; I do not at all care to see this limping cur about the 
place." It is certainly no small trouble to keep such a 
large sum of money in one's house ; and he is a happy 
man who has all his well laid out at interest, and keeps 
only so much by him as is necessary for his expenses. One 
is not a little puzzled to contrive, in the whole house, a 
safe hiding-place ; for, as far as I am concerned, I distrust 
safes, and would never rely on them. I look upon them 
just as a distinct bait to burglars ; for it is always the first 
thing which they attack. 

together at the farther end of the stage. 

HAR. (Still thinking himself alone). For all that, I am 
not quite sure if I have done right in burying in my gar- 
den these ten thousand crowns, which were paid to me 
yesterday. Ten thousand golden crowns in one's house 
is a sum sufficient. . . . (Aside, perceiving Elise and 
Cleante}. Oh, Heavens ! I have betrayed myself ! The 
excitement has carried me too far, and I verily believe I 
have spoken loud, while arguing to myself. (To Cleante 
and Elise). What is the matter? 

CLE. Nothing, father? 

HAR. Have you been there long ? 

EL. We were just coming in. 

HAR. You have heard . . . 

CLE. What, father? 

13 This is again borrowed from the Aulularia (Act iv., Scene 3). 

14 I have already observed that Moliere (see The Love Tiff, Vol. I., 
page 79, note i, took advantage even of the physical defects of the mem- 
bers of his troupe, in writing parts for them ; hence the allusion to the 
lameness of Bejart. his brother-in-law. For Bejart, see Introductory 
Notice to The Impromptu of Versailles, Vol. I. 


HAR. There . . . ' 

EL. What? 

HAR. What I said just now. 

CLE. No. 

HAR. Yes, you have. 

EL. I beg your pardon. 

HAR. I see well enough that you overheard some words. 
I was talking to myself about the difficulty one experiences 
now-a-days in finding money, and I was saying how plea- 
sant it must be to have ten thousand crowns in the 

CLE. We hesitated to speak to you, for fear of interrupt- 
ing you. 

HAR. I am very glad to tell you this, so that you may 
not take things the wrong way, and I imagine that I said 
that I myself had ten thousand crowns. 

CLE. We have no wish to enter into your concerns. 

HAR. Would to Heaven that I had them, ten thousand 
crowns ! 

CLE. I do not think . . . 

HAR. It would be a capital affair for me. 

EL. These are things . . 

HAR. I am greatly in need of them. 

CLE. I think . . . 

HAR. That would suit me very well. 

EL. You are . . . 

HAR. And I should not have to complain as I do now, 
about the hard times. 

CLE. Good Heavens ! father, you have no need to com- 
plain, and we know that you have wealth enough. 

HAR. How ! I wealth enough ! Those who say so 
surely tell a lie. Nothing could be more false ; and they 
are but a pack of rascals who spread all these reports 

EL. Do not put yourself in a rage. 

HAR. A strange thing, that my own children should 
betray me, and become my enemies. 

CLE. Is it becoming your enemy to say that you have 
wealth ? 

HAR. Yes. Such talk, and the expenses you indulge in 
will be the cause that one of these fine days people will 


come and cut my throat, in my own house, in the belief 
that I am stuffed with gold pieces. 15 

CLE. What great expenses do I indulge in ? 

HAR. Expenses? Can anything be more scandalous' 
than this sumptuous attire, which you exhibit about the 
town ? I scolded your sister yesterday ; but this is much 
worse. This cries aloud to Heaven for vengeance ; for, 
take you from top to toe, there is enough to ensure a hand- 
some competency. 16 I have told you twenty times, son, 
that all your manners displease me ; you are furiously 
aping the aristocracy ; and to go dressed as you do, you 
must rob me. 

CLE. Eh ! how rob you ? 

HAR. How do I know ? Where can you get the means 
of keeping up such an appearance ? 

CLE. I, father ? it is because I play ; and, as I am very 
lucky, I put my winnings on my back. 

HAR. That is very bad. If you are lucky at play, you 
should profit by it, and lay out the money you win at 
decent interest, that you may provide for a rainy day. 17 I 
should much like to know, leaving all other things aside, 
what the good can be of all these ribbons with which you 
are decked out from head to foot, and if half-a-dozen tacks 
are not sufficient to fasten your breeches. Is it at all necess- 
ary to spend money upon wigs ? when one can wear hair of 
home growth, which costs nothing ! I would bet that 
your wig and ribbons cost far more than twenty pistoles, 
and twenty pistoles, at a little more than eight per cent, 
bring in eighteen livres, six pence, and eight groats a 
year. 18 

CLE. You are perfectly right. 

HAR. Let us leave the subject, and talk of other things. 

15 The original has cousu de pistoles. See The Blunderer, Vol. I., page 
II, note 7. 

16 In the original, une bonne constitution. The constitution was a con- 
tract by which he who borrowed money promised to pay a certain sum 
every year to the lender. 

17 Harpagon does not blame Cl^ante for gambling, so long as the latter 
wins ; he simply regrets that his son does not make better use of his gains. 

18 The original for " a little more than eight per cent." is au denier douee, 
but the legal interest was, at the time Moliere wrote The Miser, five per 
cent. Harpagon speaks also of sous, and deniers. 


{Perceiving that Cleante and Elise interchange glances}. 
Eh ! (Softly, aside). I believe that they are making signs 
to each other to rob me of my purse. (Aloud}. What 
mean those gestures? 

EL. My brother and I are arguing who shall speak first. 
We have each something to say to you. 

HAR. And I have something to say to you both. 

CLE. It is about marriage that we wish to speak to you, 

HAR. And it is also about marriage that I wish to con- 
verse with you. 

EL. Ah, father! 

HAR. Why this cry? Is it the word, or the thing itself 
that frightens you, daughter? 

CLE. The way you may look at marriage may frighten 
us both ; and we fear that your sentiments may not happen 
to chime in with our choice. 

HAR. A little patience ; do not alarm yourselves. I 
know what is good for you both, and neither the one nor 
the other shall have cause to complain of what I intend to 
do. To begin at one end of the story (To Cleante}, tell 
me, have you noticed a young person, called Mariane, 
who lodges not far from here ? 

CLE. Yes, father. 

HAR. And you? 

EL. I have heard her spoken of. 

HAR. How do you like that girl, son ? 

CLE. .A very charming person. 

HAR. What do you think of her countenance? 

CLE. Very genteel, and full of intelligence. 

HAR. Her air and manner ? 

CLE. Without doubt, admirable. 

HAR. Do you not think that a girl like that deserves to 
be taken notice of? 

CLE. Yes, father. 

HAR. That it would be a desirable match ? 

CLE. Very desirable. 

HAR. That she looks as if she would make a good wife ? 

CLE. Undoubtedly. 

HAR. And that a husband would have reason to be 
satisfied with her ? 

24 THE MISER. . [ACT I. 

CLE. Assuredly. 

HAR. There is a slight difficulty. I fear that she has 
not as much money as one might reasonably pretend to. 

CLE. Ah ! father, money is not worth considering when 
there is a question of marrying a respectable girl. 

HAR. Not so, not so. But this much may be said, that 
if one finds not quite so much money as one might wish, 
there is a way of regaining it in other things. 

CLE. Of course. 

HAR. Well, I am very glad to see that you share my 
sentiments ; for her genteel behaviour and her gentleness 
have quite gained my heart, and I have made up my mind 
to marry her, provided she has some dowry. 

CLE. Eh ! 

HAR. What nov? 

CLE. You have made up your mind, you say . . . 

HAR. To marry Mariane. 

CLE. Who? You, you? 

HAR. Yes, I, I, I. What means this ? 

CLE. I feel a sudden giddiness, and I had better go. 

HAR. It will be nothing. Go quickly into the kitchen, 
and drink a large glassful of cold water. 


HAR. A lot of flimsy sparks, with no more strength 
than chickens. Daughter, this is what I have resolved 
upon for myself. As for your brother, I intend him for a 
certain widow, of whom they spoke to me this morning ; 
and you, I will give you to Mr. Anselme. 

EL. To Mr. Anselme? 

HAR. Yes, a staid, prudent, and careful man, who is not 
above fifty, and whose wealth is spoken of everywhere. 

EL. (Making a curtsey). I have no wish to get married, 
father, if you please. 

HAR. (Imitating her). And I, my dear girl, my pet, 
I wish you to get married, if you please. 

EL. {Curtseying once more). I beg your pardon, 

HAR. (Imitating Elise). I beg your pardon, daughter. 

EL. I am Mr. Anselme's most humble servant 


(curtseying again)', but, with your leave, I shall not 
marry him. 

HAR. I am your most humble slave, but, (imitating 
Elise} with your leave, you shall marry him not later than 
this evening. 

EL. Not later than this evening? 

HAR. Not later than this evening. 

EL. {Curtseying again). That shall not be, father. 

HAR. (Imitating her again). This shall be, daughter. 

EL. No. 

HAR. Yes. 

EL. No, I tell you. 

HAR. Yes, I tell you. 

EL. That is a thing you shall not drive me to. 

HAR. That is a thing I shall drive you to. 

EL. I will sooner kill myself than marry such a 

HAR. You shall not kill yourself, and you shall marry 
him. But has such boldness ever been seen ! Has ever 
a daughter been heard to speak to her father in this 
manner ? 

EL. But has any one ever seen a father give away his 
daughter in marriage in this manner? 

HAR. It is a match to which no one can object ; and 
I bet that every one will approve of my choice. 

EL. And I bet that no reasonable being will approve 
of it. 

HAR. (Perceiving Valere in the distance). Here comes 
Valere. Shall we make him judge betwixt us in this 
matter ? 

EL. I consent to it. 

HAR. Will you submit to his judgment? 

EL. Yes; I will submit to what he shall decide. 

HAR. That is agreed. 


HAR. Come here, Valere. We have elected you to tell 
us who is in the right, my daughter or I. 
VAL. You, Sir, beyond gainsay. 
HAR. Are you aware of what we are talking ? 

26 THE MISER. [ACT i. 

VAL. No. But you could not be in the wrong. You 
are made up of right. 

HAR. I intend, this evening, to give her for a husband, 
a man who is as rich as he is discreet ; and the jade tells 
me to my face that she will not take him. What say you 
to this? 

VAL. What do I say to it ? 

HAR. Yes. 

VAL. Eh! eh! 

HAR. What? 

VAL. I say, that in the main, I am of your opinion; 
and you cannot but be right. But on the other side, she 
is not altogether wrong, and . . . 

HAR. How is that ? Mr. Anselme is a desirable match ; 
he is a gentleman who is noble, 19 kind, steady, discreet, 
and very well to do, and who has neither chick nor child 
left him from his first marriage. Could she meet with a 
better match ? 

VAL. That is true. But she might say to you that it is 
hurrying things a little too much, and that you should 
give her some time at least to see whether her inclinations 
would agree with . . . 

HAR. This is an opportunity which should be taken by 
the forelock. I find in this marriage an advantage 
which I could not find elsewhere ; and he agrees to take 
her without a dowry. 

VAL. Without a dowry ? 

HAR. Yes. 

VAL. In that case, I say no more. Do you see, this is 
altogether a convincing reason ; one must yield to that. 

HAR. It is a considerable saving to me. 

VAL. Assuredly ; it cannot be gainsaid. It is true that 
your daughter might represent to you that marriage is a 
more important matter than you think ; that it involves a 
question of being happy or miserable all one's life ; and 
that an engagement which must last till death ought never 
to be entered upon except with great precautions. 

HAR. Without a dowry ! 

19 This is a hit at the men who pretended to be of noble birth and were 
not so. Moliere repeats this attack in the fifth Scene of the fifth Act, 
page 77. 

SCENE viii.] THE MISER. 27 

VAL. You are right. That decides it all, of course. 
There are people who might tell you that on such an 
occasion the wishes of a daughter are something, no doubt, 
that ought to be taken into consideration ; and that this 
great disparity of age, of temper, and of feelings makes a 
marriage subject to very sad accidents. 

HAR. Without a dowry ! 

VAL. Ah ! there is no reply to that ; I know that well 
enough. Who the deuce could say anything against that? 
Not that there are not many fathers who would prefer to 
humour the wishes of their daughters to the money they 
could give them ; who would not sacrifice them to their 
own interests, and who would, above all things, try to in- 
fuse into marriage that sweet conformity, which, at all 
times, maintains honour, peace, and joy ; and which . . . 

HAR. Without a dowry ! w 

VAL. It is true ; that closes one's mouth at once. With- 
out a dowry ! There are no means of resisting an argu- 
ment like that. 

HAR. (Aside, looking towards the garden). Bless my 
soul ! I think I hear a dog barking. Most likely it is 
some one with a design upon my money. (To Valere). 
Do not stir ; I am coming back directly. 


EL. Are you jesting, Valere, to speak to him in that 
manner ? 

VAL. It is in order not to sour his temper, and to gain 
my end the better. To run counter to his opinions is the 
way to spoil everything; and there are certain minds 
which cannot be dealt with in a straightforward manner; 
temperaments averse to all resistance ; restive characters, 
whom the truth causes to rear, who always set their faces 
against the straight road of reason, and whom you cannot 
lead except by turning them with their back towards the 
goal. Pretend to consent to what he wishes, you will 
gain your end all the better ; and . . . 

20 The " without a dowry" is as lucky a dramatic hit as "The poor 
man " of Tartitfe, or, " What the devil was he going to in that galley ?" 
of The Rogueries of Scapin. In Plautus' Aulularia (Act ii., Scene 2), 
old Megadorus asks for the hand of young Phaedra, Euclio's daughter, 
who three times repeats that he has no " marriage portion " to give her. 


EL. But this marriage, Valere ! 

VAL. We will find some pretext to break it off. 

EL. But what to invent, if it is to be consummated this 

VAL. You must ask for a delay, and pretend to be ill. 

EL. But the feint will be discovered, if they call in the 

VAL. Are you jesting? What do they know about it ? 
Come, come, with them you may have whatever illness 
you please ; they will find you some reasons to tell you 
whence it proceeds. 


HAR. (Aside, at the further end of the stage). It is 
nothing, thank Heaven. 

VAL. {Not seeing Harpagon). In short, our last re- 
source is flight, which will shelter us from everything; and 
if your love, fair Elise, be capable of acting with firm- 
ness . . . (Perceiving Harpagon). Yes, a daughter ought 
to obey her father. She ought not to look at the shape 
of a husband ; and when the great argument of without a 
dowry is added to it, she must be ready to accept what is 
given to her. 

HAR. Good : that is well spoken. 

VAL. I crave your pardon, Sir, if I am a little warm, 
and take the liberty of speaking as I do. 

HAR. How now! I am delighted with it, and I wish 
you to take an absolute control over her. {To Elise). Yes, 
you may run away as much as you like, I invest him with 
the authority which Heaven has given me over you, and 
I will have you do all that he tells you. 

VAL. {To Elise). After that, resist my remonstrances. 


VAL. With your leave, Sir, I will follow her, to con- 
tinue the advice which I was giving her. 

HAR. Yes, you will oblige me. By all means . . . 

VAL. It is as well to keep her tight in hand. 

HAR. True. We must . . . 

VAL. Do not be uneasy. I think that I shall succeed. 


HAR. Do, do. I am going to take a little stroll in 
town, and I shall be back presently. 

VAL. (Addressing himself to Elise, leaving by the door, 
through which she went out). Yes, money is more precious 
than anything else in this world, and you ought to thank 
Heaven for having given you such an honest man for a 
father. He knows how to go through life. When any one 
offers to take a girl without a dowry, one should look no 
farther. It sums up everything ; and without dowry 
makes up for beauty, youth, birth, honour, wisdom, and 

HAR. Ah ! the honest fellow ! He speaks like an oracle. 
It is a rare piece of luck to have such a servant ! 



CLE. Ah ! wretch that you are ! where have you been ? 
Did I not give you the order . . . 

LA FL. Yes, Sir; and I came here to wait for you 
without stirring : but your father, the most surly of men, 
ordered me out in spite of myself, at the risk of a 

CLE. How is our affair getting on? Matters press 
more than ever, and since I have seen you, I have found 
out that my father is my rival. 

LA FL. Your father in love? 

CLE. Yes ; and I have had the utmost difficulty in con- 
cealing from him the trouble which these tidings have 
caused me. 

LA FL. He meddle with love ! What the devil put 
that in his head ? Is he making fun of every one ? and 
has love been made for people like him? 

CLE. This passion must have got into his head to 
punish me for my sins. 

LA FL. But for what reason do you keep your love a 
secret from him ? 

CLE. In order to give him less suspicion, and to keep, 

30 THE MISER. [ACT n. 

if needs be, the means open for dissuading him from this 
marriage. What answer have they made to you ? 

LA FL. Upon my word, Sir, borrowers are very unlucky 
people ; and one must put up with strange things, when 
one is compelled, like you, to pass through the hands of 
money-lenders.* 1 

CLE. Will the affair fall through? 

LA FL. I beg your pardon. Our Master Simon, the 
agent who has been recommended to us, an active and 
zealous man, says that he has done wonders for you, and 
he assures me that your face alone has won his heart. 

CLE. Shall I have the fifteen thousand francs which I 

LA FL. Yes, but with some trifling conditions which 
you must accept, if you purpose that the affair should be 
carried through. 

CLE. Has he allowed you to speak to the person who is 
to lend the money ? 

LA FL. Ah ! really, things are not managed in that 
way. He takes even more care to remain unknown than 
you do ; and these things are much greater mysteries than 
you think. Simon would not tell me his name at all, and 
he will be confronted with you to-day in a house borrowed 
for the occasion, to be informed by you, personally, of 
your own substance and that of your family ; and I have 
no doubt that the very name of your father may make 
things go smoothly. 

CLE. And above all our mother being dead, whose 
property cannot be alienated. 

LA FL. Here are some clauses, which he has himself 
dictated to our go-between, to be shown to you before 
doing anything : " Provided that the lender see all his 
securities, and that the borrower be of age, and of a 
family whose estate is ample, solid, secure, and undoubted, 
and free from all incumbrance, a binding and correct 

n In the original, des fesse-matthieux ; because Saint Matthew was. be- 
conversion, a tax-gatherer ; a profession which was, at all times, 
considered to be connected with usury. Hence, in old French the ex- 
pression //,.- saint Matthieu, for " to lend monev at exorbitant interest " 
the usurer himself was called fesU-Matthieu, which became cor- 
rupted \ntofesse-matthiev. 


bond shall be executed before a notary, the most honest 
man to be found, and who, for this purpose, shall be 
chosen by the borrower, to whom it is of the greatest 
importance that the instrument shall be regularly drawn 

CLE. There is nothing to object to that. 

LA FL. "The lender, in order not to charge his con- 
science with the least scruple, will only lend his money at 
a little more than five and a half per cent." 22 

CLE. At a little more than five and a half per cent ? 
Zounds ! that is honest enough. There is no reason to 

LA FL. That is true. "But as the lender has not the 
sum in question by him, and as, to oblige the borrower, 
he is himself obliged to borrow it of some one at the rate 
of twenty per cent., 23 it shall be agreed that the said first 
borrower shall pay this interest, without prejudice of the 
rest, seeing that it is only to oblige him that the said 
lender takes up that loan." 

CLE. What the devil ! what Jew, what Arab is this ? 
This is more than twenty-five per cent. 24 

LA FL. It is true, that is what I have said. It is for 
you to see to that. 

CLE. What can I see ? I want the money, and I am 
bound to consent to everything. 

LA FL. That is the answer which I made. 

CLE. There is something else still ? 

LA FL. Nothing but a small matter. "Of the fifteen 
thousand francs required, the lender can count down in 
cash only twelve thousand ; and, for the remaining 
thousand crowns, the borrower will have to take them out 
in chattels, clothing, and jewelry, of which the following 
is the memorandum, and which the lender has set down 
honestly at the lowest possible price." 

CLE. What does this mean ? 

LA FL. Listen to the memorandum. "First, a four- 

M In the original au denier dix-huit, which means at the interest of one 
groat for every eighteen lent, or a little more than five and a half per 

M The original has an denier cinq. 

24 In the original au denier quatre. 

32 THE MISER. [ACT n. 

post bed, elegantly adorned with Hungary-lace bands, with 
hangings of olive coloured cloth, with six chairs, and a 
counterpane of the same ; the whole in very good con- 
dition, and lined with a shot taffetas, red and blue. Item : 
a tester for this bed, of good Aumale, pale rose-coloured 
serge, with large and small silk fringes. ' ' 

CLE. What does he want me to do with it ? 

LA FL. Wait. "Item; Tapestry hangings, represent- 
ing the loves of Gombaud and Mac^e. 25 Item: a large 
walnut wood table, with twelve columns or turned legs, 
which draws out at both sides, provided with six stools 
underneath it." 

CLE. What have I to do, Zounds . . . 

LA FL. Only have patience. " Item : three large mus- 
kets inlaid with mother-of-pearl, with the necessary rests. 26 
Item : a brick furnace, with two retorts, and three re- 
ceivers very useful for those who have a turn for dis- 

CLE. I am going mad. 

LA FL. Gently. "Item: a Bologna lute with all its 
strings, or nearly all. Item : a trou-madame table," a 

K In all probability, the loves of Gombaud and Macee formed a sort of 
comic pastoral, which must have been very popular in former times, and 
doubtless had become rather antiquated when La Fleche spoke of them. 
Still they are mentioned as a representation of rustic gallantry in Brittany, 
as late as 1795. In the inventory of goods left by Moliere, and taken 
after his death, we find " some Flanders hangings representing a land- 
scape " (de verdure), and valued eight hundred livres, which seems to be 
the same as those valued eleven hundred livres, mentioned in the mar- 
riage contract of M. de Montalant with the daughter of Moliere, and 
where, however, in speaking of these hangings, they are said to be adorned 
''with some small figures." In the inventory taken after de Montalant's 
death, on the isth of September, 1738, we find "some Antwerp hangings, 
valued five hundred and fifty livres, representing the history of Perseus 
and Andromeda," which may have belonged to Moliere. In the first 
Scene of the first Act of L ove is the best Doctor (see Vol. II., page 148), M. 
Guillaume advises Sganarelle to buy for his daughter "a beautiful set of 
hangings, with a landscape, or some figures in them." I owe this note to 
the late M. Soulie, Recherches sur Moliere, p. 270. 

26 The soldiers used formerly a forked stick, which they stuck with the 
point in the ground, on which fork they rested their heavy musket, in 
order to aim better. 

77 In the original trou-madame. Ash in his dictionary says: "Trou- 
madame a play in which a bowl is thrown so as to pass through a range 
of holes at a distance properly numbered for the game." 


draught-board, with the game of mother goose, restored 
from the Greeks, very agreeable to pass the time when one 
has nothing else to do. Item : a lizzard's skin of three 
feet and a half, stuffed with hay : a very pretty curiosity 
to hang at the ceiling of a room. The whole of the 
above-mentioned, really worth more than four thousand 
five hundred francs, and brought down to the value of a 
thousand crowns, through the discretion of the lender."* 8 

CLE. May the plague choke him with his discretion, 
the wretch, the cut-throat that he is ! Has one ever heard 
of similar usury ? Is he not satisfied with the tremendous 
interest which he demands, but must needs force me to 
take for the three thousand francs the old lumber which 
he picks up ? I shall not get two hundred crowns for the 
whole of it ; and nevertheless I must make up my mind 
to consent to what he wishes ; for he has it in his power 
to make me accept anything : and the scoundrel holds me 
with a knife to my throat. 

LA FL. Without offence, Sir, I see you exactly in the 
high road which Panurge took to ruin himself: taking 
money in advance, buying dear, selling cheap, and eating 
his corn whilst it was but grass. 29 

CLE. What am I to do ? See to what young people 
are reduced by the cursed stinginess of their fathers, and 
then people are surprised when sons wish their fathers 
dead ! 

LA FL. One must confess that yours, with his stingi- 
ness, would incense the steadiest man in the world. I 
have, Heaven be praised, no very great inclination to be 
hanged ; and, among my colleagues whom I see dabbling 
in many trifling things, I know well enough how to get 
cleverly out of the scrape, and to keep as clear as possible 
of these little amenities which savour more or less of the 

28 The idea of this list is taken from a comedy of Boisrobert, called la 
Belle Plaideuse, and played in 1654 ; but the servant Philipin informs his 
master Ergaste, that, to make up the fifteen thousand francs which the 
latter wishes to borrow, the lender gives only one thousand crowns cash, 
and the rest in " monkeys, very fine parrots, and twelve large cannons." 

29 Rabelais in his Pantagruel (Book iii., ch. 2) says that Panurge was- 
*' burning the great logs for the sale of the ashes, borrowing money before- 
hand, buying dear, selling cheap, and eating his corn, as it were, whilst it 
was but grass." 

VOL. in. c 


rope ; but, to tell you the truth, he would, by his way of 
acting, give me the temptation to rob him ; and I verily 
believe that, by doing so, I would commit a meritorious 
action. 80 

CLE. Give me this memorandum, that I may have an- 
other look at it. 

LA FLECHE at the farther end of the stage. 

SIM. Yes, Sir, it is a young man who is in want of 
money ; his affairs compel him to find some, and he will 
consent to all that you dictate to him. 

HAR. But think you, Master Simon, that there is no 
risk to run ? and do you know the name, the property, 
and the family of him for whom you speak ? 

SIM. No. In reality I cannot well inform you about 
that, and it is only by chance that I have been recom- 
mended to him ; but he will himself explain all these 
things to you, and his servant has assured me that you will 
be satisfied when you shall know him. All that I am able 
to tell you is that his family is very rich, that he has 
already lost his mother, and he will engage himself, if you 
wish it, that his father shall die before eight months are 

HAR. That is something. Charity, Master Simon, en- 
joins us to be agreeable to people when we can. 

SIM. That needs no comment. 

LA FL. (Softly, to Cleante, recognizing Af aster Simon). 
What does this mean ? Master Simon who is speaking to 
your father? 

CLE. (Softly, to La Fleche}. Can any one have told 
him who I am and are you perhaps betraying me ? 

SIM. (To Cleante and La Fleche). Ah, ah ! you are in 
a great hurry ! Who told you that it was here. ( To Har- 
pagon). It is not I, at least, Sir, who have given them 
your name and address ; but, in my opinion, there is no 
great harm in this ; they are discreet persons, and you can 
here come to an understanding with one another. 

80 These words of La Fleche denote that he intends to steal the miser's 
money-box (see Act iv.. Scene 6), but more to play the latter a trick than 
as a seriously planned robbery. 


HAR. How? 

SIM. (Pointing to Cleante). This gentleman is the 
party who wishes to borrow the fifteen thousand francs of 
which I spoke. 

HAR. What, hangdog, it is you who abandon yourself 
to these culpable extravagances. 

CLE. What ! it is you, father, who lend yourself to 
these shameful deeds ! (Master Simon runs away, and 

La JFleche hides himself. 


HAR. It is you who wish to ruin yourself by such cen- 
surable loans? 

CLE. It is you who seek to enrich yourself by such 
criminal usury ? 

HAR. Can you dare, after this, to appear before me ? 

CLE. Can you dare, after this, to show your face to the 
world. 31 

HAR. Are you not ashamed, tell me, to practice this 
sort of excesses, to rush into these dreadful expenses, and 
to dissipate so shamefully the property which your parents 
have amassed for you by the sweat of their brow ? 

CLE. Do you not blush to dishonour your station by the 
trade you are engaged in ; to sacrifice glory and reputa- 
tion to the insatiable desire of piling crown upon crown, 
and to surpass, in matters of interest, the most infamous 
tricks that were ever invented by the most notorious 
usurers ? 

HAR, Begone out of my sight, scoundrel ! begone out 
of my sight ! 

CLE. Who, think you, is the more criminal he who 
buys the money of which he is in need, or he who steals 
money for which he has no use? 

HAR. Begone, I say, and do not break the drums of my 
ears. (Alone}. After all, I am not so vexed about this 
adventure; it will be a lesson to me to keep more than 
ever an eye upon his proceedings. 

81 Moliere has borrowed also from Boisrobert's play, mentioned before, 
the primary idea of this scene. 



FRO. Sir. 

HAR. Wait a moment : I shall be back directly to speak 
to you. {{Aside}. I had better go and take a look at my 


LA FL. (Without seeing Frosine). The adventure is 
altogether funny ! He must have somewhere a large store 
of furniture ; for we could recognize nothing here from 
what is in the memorandum. 

FRO. Eh ! is it you, my poor La Fleche ! How comes 
this meeting? 

LA FL. Ah ! ah ! it is you, Frosine ! What brings you 

FRO. The same that brings me everywhere else ; to fetch 
and carry, to render myself serviceable to people, and to 
profit as much as possible by the small talents of which 
I am possessed. You know that in this world we must 
live by our wits, and that to persons like me, Heaven has 
given no other income than intrigue and industry. 

LA FL. Have you any dealings with the master of this 
house ? 

FRO. Yes. I am arranging some small matter for him, 
for which I expect a reward. 

LA FL. From him ? Ah ! you will have to be wide- 
awake enough if you get anything out of him ; and I warn 
you that money is very scarce in this house 

FRO. There are certain services that touch to the quick 

LA FL. I am your humble servant. You do not know 
Mr. Harpagon yet. Mr. Harpagon is of all human beings 
the least human, of all mortals the hardest and most close- 
fisted. There is no service that touches his gratitude 
deeply enough to make him unloose his purse-strings. 
Praise, esteem, kindness in words, and friendship, as 
much as you like ; but money, nothing of the kind. 
There is nothing drier and more arid than his good graces 
and his caresses ; and to give is a word for which he has 
such an aversion, that he never says : I give you, but I lend 
you good day. 


FRO. Gad ! I have the art of drawing something out of 
people ; I have the secret of entering into their affections, 
of tickling their hearts, and of finding out their most sen- 
sitive spots. 

LA FL. Of no avail here. I defy you to soften the man 
we are speaking of, so that he will give money. Upon 
this subject he is a Turk, but of a turkishness to cause the 
despair of every one ; and one might starve, and he would 
not budge. In one word, he loves money better than 
reputation, than honour, and than virtue; and the very 
sight of one who asks for it sends him into fits; it is 
touching him in his mortal part, it is piercing his heart, it 
is tearing out his very entrails ; and if ... But he is 
coming back ; I am going. 


HAR. (Aside). Everything is going on right. (Aloud). 
Well ! what is it, Frosine ? 

FRO. Gad, how weH you are looking ; you are the very 
picture of health ! 

HAR. Who? I! 

FRO. I never saw you with such a fresh and jolly com- 

HAR. Really? 

FRO. How? You never in your life looked so young 
as you do now; I see people of five-and-twenty who look 
older than you. 

HAR. I am over sixty, nevertheless, Frosine. 

FRO. Well ! what does that signify, sixty years ? that 
is nothing to speak of! It is the very flower of one's age, 
that is; and you are just entering the prime of manhood. 

HAR. That is true ; but twenty years less would do me 
no harm, I think. 

FRO. Are you jesting? You have no need of that, and 
you are made of the stuff to live a hundred. 

HAR. Do you think so? 

FRO. Indeed I do. You show all the signs of it. Hold 
up your head a moment. Yes, it is there, well enough 
between your eyes, a sign of long life ! 

HAR. You are a judge of that sort of thing? 


FRO. Undoubtedly I am. Show me your hand. Begad, 
what a line of life ! 

HAR. How? 

FRO. Do you not see how far this line goes? 32 

HAR. Well ! what does it mean ? 

FRO. Upon my word, I said a hundred ; but you shall 
pass six score. 

HAR. Is it possible? 

FRO. They will have to kill you, I tell you ; and you shall 
bury your children, and your children's children. 

HAR. So much the better ! How is our affair getting 

FRO. Need you ask? Does one ever see me meddle 
with anything that I do not bring to an issue ? But for 
match-making, especially, I have a marvellous talent. 
There are not two people in the world whom I cannot 
manage, in a very short time, to couple together; and I 
believe that, if I took it into my head, I should marry the 
grand Turk to the republic of Venice. 83 To be sure, there 
were no very great difficulties in this matter. As I am 
intimate with the ladies, I have often spoken to each of 
them, of you ; and I have told the mother of the design 
which you had upon Mariane, from seeing her pass in the 
street, and taking the fresh air at her window. 

HAR. Who answered . . . 

FRO. She has received your proposal with joy; and when 
I gave her to understand that you very much wished her 
daughter to be present this evening at the marriage-con- 
tract, which was to be signed for yours, she has consented 
without difficulty, and has entrusted her to me for the 

82 This dialogue is translated from a comedy of Ariosto, / Suppositi 
(Act i., Scene 2). 

33 In Rabelais' forty-first chapter of the third book of Pantagruel, 
" How Bridlegoose relateth the history of the reconcilers of parties at 
variance in matter? of law/' Peter Dendin says to his son Tenot " I tell 
thee, my jolly son Dendin, that by this rule and method I could settle a 
firm peace, or at least clap up a cessation of arms, and truce for many 
years to come betwixt the great King and the Venetian State, the 
Emperor and the Cantons of Switzerland, the English and the Scotch, 
and betwixt the Pope and the Ferrarians. Shall I go yet further ? Yea, 
as I would have God to help m>" betwixt the Turk and the Sophy, the 
Tartars and the Muscovites." 


HAR. It is because I am obliged to offer a supper to 
Mr. Anselme ; and I shall be glad that she share the treat. 

FRO. You are right. She is to pay a visit after dinner 
to your daughter, whence she intends to take a turn in the 
fair, to come and sup here afterwards. 

HAR. Well ! they shall go together in my coach, which 
I will lend them. 

FRO. That will do very nicely. 

HAR. But, Frosine, have you spoken to the mother re- 
specting the portion she can give her daughter? Have you 
told her that she must bestir herself a little; that she 
should make some effort ; that she must even bleed herself 
a little on an occasion like that? For, after all, one does 
not marry a girl without her bringing something. 

FRO. How something ! She is a girl who brings you 
twelve thousand francs a-year. 

HAR. Twelve thousand francs ! 

FRO. Yes. To begin with ; she has been brought up 
and accustomed to strict economy in feeding. She is a 
girl used to live on salad, milk, cheese, and apples ; and 
who, in consequence, will neither want a well-appointed 
table, nor exquisite broths, nor peeled barley, at every turn, 
nor other delicacies which would be necessary to any other 
woman; and let these things cost ever so little, they 
always mount to about three thousand francs a-year at the 
least. Besides this, she has no taste for anything but the 
utmost simplicity, and does not care for sumptuous dresses, 
or valuable jewels or magnificent furniture, to which other 
young ladies are so much given ; and that comes to more 
than four thousand francs per annum. In addition, she 
has a terrible aversion to gambling, not a common thing 
in women of the present day ; for I know one in our 
neighbourhood who has lost more "than twenty thousand 
francs this year at trenteet quarante. But let us only esti- 
mate it at a fourth of that. Five thousand francs a-year 
at play, and four thousand in jewelry and dresses, that 
makes nine thousand ; and a thousand crowns, say, for 
the food : are there not your twelve thousand francs 
a-year ? M 

44 This idea is probably borrowed from Plautus' Aulularia. (Act iii., 
Scene 10), where Megadorus consoles himself for having a bride without 


HAR. Yes : that is not so bad ; but this reckoning con- 
tains, after all, nothing real. 

FRO. Pardon me. Is "it not something real to bring 
you for a marriage portion great sobriety, the inheritance 
of a great love for simplicity of dress, and the acquisition 
of a great hatred for gambling ? 

HAR. Surely it is a joke to wish to make up her dowry 
to me out of expenses to which she will not go. I am not 
going to give a receipt for what I do not receive ; and I 
shall have to get something down on the nail. 

FRO. Good gracious ! you shall get enough ; and they 
have spoken to me of a certain country where they have 
some property, whereof you will become the master. 

HAR. That remains to be seen. But, Frosine, there is 
something else still which makes me uneasy. The girl i? 
young, as you can see ; and young people ordinarily love 
only their equals, and seek only their society. I am afraid 
that a man of my age may not be to her taste, and that 
this might produce certain little troubles in my house, 
which would not at all suit me. 

FRO. Ah ! how little you know her ! This is another 
peculiarity which I had to mention to you. She has a 
frightful aversion to young people, and cares for none ex- 
cept for old men. 

HAR. She? 

FRO. Yes, she. I should like that you had heard her 
speak upon that subject. She cannot at all bear the sight 
of a young man ; but nothing gives her greater delight, 
she says, than to behold a handsome old man with a 
majestic beard. The oldest are the most charming to 
her ; so I warn you beforehand not to make yourself look 
younger than you really are. She wishes one at least to be 
a sexagenarian ; and it is not more than four months ago, 
that, on the point of being married, she flatly broke off 
the match, when it came out that her lover was but fifty- 
six years of age, and that he did not put spectacles on to 
sign the contract. 

HAR. Only for that ? 

a dowry, by descanting upon the ruinous expenses of women who have 
brought dowries to their husbands. 


FRO. Yes. She says fifty-six will not do for her ; and 
that above all things she cares for noses that wear spec- 

HAR. You certainly tell me something new there. 

FRO. She carries it farther than I could tell you. One 
may see some pictures and a few prints in her room ; but 
what do you think they are? Portraits of Adonis, of 
Cephalus, of Paris, and of Apollo? Not at all. Beautiful 
likenesses of Saturn, of king Priam, of old Nestor, and of 
good father Anchises on his son's back. 

HAR. This is admirable. That is what I should never 
have thought, and I am very glad to hear that she is of 
that disposition. In fact, had I been a woman, I should 
never have cared for young men. 

FRO. I should think so. A nice lot they are these 
young men, to care for them ! pretty beauties, indeed, 
these fine sparks to be enamoured of! I should like to 
know what one can see in them ! 

HAR. As for me, I cannot understand it at all. I do 
not know how there are women who like them so much. 

FRO. They must be downright fools. Does it sound 
like common sense to think youth amiable? Are they 
men at all, these young fops, 55 and can one love such 
animals ? 

HAR. That is what I say every day ; with their voices 
like chicken-hearted fellows, three small hairs in the beard 
twirled like a cat's whiskers ; their tow-wigs, their breeches 
quite hanging down, and their open breasts ! 

FRO. Indeed ! they are well built compared with a 
person like you ! That is what I call a man ; there is 
something there to please the sight; and that is the way 
to be made and dressed to inspire love. 

HAR. Then you like my appearance? 

FRO Do I like your appearance ! You are charming; 
your figure is worth painting. Turn round a little, if you 
please. Nothing could be better. Let me see you walk. 
That is a well-built body, free and easy as it ought to be, 
and without a sign of illness. 

The original has blondim. See The School for Husbands, Vol. I., 
page 264, note 8. 

42 THE MISER. [ACT n. 

HAR. None to speak of, thank Heaven." Nothing but 
my cough, which worries me now and then. 

FRO. That is nothing. It does not become you badly, 
seeing that you cough very gracefully. 

HAR. Just tell me : has Mariane not seen me yet? She 
has not taken any notice of me in going past ? 

FRO. No; but we have spoken a great deal of you. 
I have tried to paint your person to her, and I have not 
failed to vaunt your merits, and the advantage which it 
would be to her to have a husband like you. 

HAR. You have done well and I thank you for it. 

FRO. I have, Sir, a slight request to make to you. 
I have a law-suit which I am on the point of losing for 
want of a little money {Harpagon assumes a serious look) ; 
and you might easily enable me to gain this suit by doing 
me a little kindness. You would not believe how de- 
lighted she will be to see you. {Harpagon resumes his 
liveliness). How you will charm her, and how this old- 
fashioned ruff 37 will take her fancy! But above all things, 
she will like your breeches fastened to your doublet with 
tags; that will make her mad for you; and a lover who 
wears tags will be most acceptable to her. 

HAR. Certainly, I am delighted to hear you say so. 

FRO. Really, sir, this law-suit is of the utmost conse- 
quence to me. (Harpagon resumes his serious air). If 
I lose it, I am ruined ; and some little assistance would set 
my affairs in order ... I should like you to have seen 
her delight at hearing me speak of you. (Harpagon 
resumes his liveliness). Joy shone in her eyes at the 
enumeration of your good qualities; and, in short, 
I have made her very anxious to have this match entirely 

HAR. You have pleased me very much, Frosine ; and I 
confess that I am extremely obliged to you. 

FRO. I pray you, Sir, to give me the little assistance 
which I ask of you. (Harpagon resumes his serious air). 

36 In saying these words, Harpagon begins to cough, and as Moliere 
was subject to this, it became quite natural to him, when he played this 

91 The original has /raise a I' antique. See The School for Husbands, 
Vol. I., page 266, note 10. 


It will put me on ray legs again, and I shall be for ever 
grateful to you. 

HAR. Good-bye. I am going to finish my letters. 

FRO. I assure you, Sir, that you could never come to 
my relief in a greater need. 

HAR. I will give orders that my coach be ready to take 
you to the fair. 

FRO. I would not trouble you, if I were not compelled 
to it from necessity. 

HAR. And I will take care that the supper shall be served 
early, so as not to make you ill. 

FRO. Do not refuse me the service which I ask of you. 
You would not believe, Sir, the pleasure which . . . 

HAR. I must begone. Some one is calling me. Till 

FRO. (Alone). May ague seize you, and send you to the 
devil, you stingy cur ! The rascal has resisted firmly all 
my attacks. But I must, for all that, not abandon the at- 
tempt ; and I have got the other side, from whom, at any 
rate, I am certain to draw a good reward. 



HAR. Come here, all of you, that I may give you my 
orders for just now, and tell every one what he has to do. 
Come here, Mistress Claude; let us begin with you. 
{Looking at her brooni). That is right, arms in hand. I 
trust to you for cleaning up everywhere: and above all, 
take care not to rub the furniture too hard, for fear of 
wearing it out. Besides this, I appoint you to look after 
the bottles during the supper ; and, if one is missing, or 
if something gets broken, I shall hold you responsible, and 
deduct it from your wages. 

JAC. (Aside). There is policy in that punishment. 

HAK. (To Mistress Claude}. You can go. 

44 THE MISER. f ACT ,. 


HAR. You, Brindavoine, and you, La Merluche, I con- 
fide to you the care of rinsing the glasses, and of serving 
out the drink, but only when the people are thirsty, and 
not in the manner of these impertinent lacqueys who come 
and provoke them, and put drinking into their heads when 
they have no thought of such a thing. Wait till you are 
asked for it more than once, and bear in mind always to 
bring a good deal of water. 

JAC. (Aside). Yes. Wine undiluted mounts to the 

MER, Shall we throw off our smocks, Sir? 

HAR. Yes, when you see the people coming ; and take 
care not to spoil your clothes. 

BRIN. You know, Sir, that the front of my doublet is 
covered with a large stain of oil from the lamp. 

MER. And I, Sir, I have a large hole in the seat of my 
breeches, and saving your presence, people can see . . . 

HAR. Peace ; keep it adroitly to the side of the wall, 
and always show your front to the world. (To Brinda- 
voine, showing him how he is to keep his hat before his 
doublet, in order to hide the s/ain.}. And you, always 
hold your hat thus while you are waiting upon the guests. 


HAR. As for you, daughter, you will keep an eye upon 
what goes away from the table, and take care that nothing 
be wasted. It becomes girls to do so. Meanwhile, get 
yourself ready to receive my intended properly. She is 
coming to visit you, and will take you to the fair with 
her. Do you hear what I say to you ? 

EL. Yes, father. 


HAR. And you, my foppish son, to whom I have been 
good enough to forgive what has happened just now, do 
not take it into your head to show her a sour face. 


CLE. I ! father ? a sour face. And for what reason ? 

HAR. Egad ! we know the ways of children whose 
fathers marry again, and with what sort of eyes they are 
in the habit of looking at their so-called stepmothers. 
But if you wish me to lose the recollection of this last es- 
capade of yours, I recommend you, above all, to show this 
lady a friendly countenance, and to give her, in short, the 
best possible reception. 

CLE. To tell you the truth, father, I cannot promise 
you to be glad that she is to become my stepmother. I 
should tell a lie if I said so to you ; but as for receiving 
her well and showing her a friendly countenance, I pro- 
mise to obey you punctually on this head. 

HAR. Take care you do, at least. 

CLE. You shall see that you shall have no cause to com- 

HAR. You had better. 


HAR. You will have to help me in this, Valere. Now, 
Master Jacques, draw near, I have left you for the last. 

JAC. Is it to your coachman, Sir, or to your cook, that 
you wish to speak? For I am both the one and the 

HAR. It is to both. 

JAC. But to which of the two first ? 

HAR. To the cook. 

JAC. Then wait a minute, if you please. 

(Master Jacques takes off his livery coat, 
and appears in a cook's dress). 

HAR. What the deuce does that ceremony mean ? 

JAC. You have but to speak now. 

HAR. I have promised, Master Jacques, to give a supper 

JAC. (Aside}, Most miraculous ! 

HAR. Just tell me : will you dish us up something 

JAC. Yes, if you give me plenty of money. 

HAR. The deuce, always money. It seems to me as if 
they could speak of nothing else ; money, money, money ! 
It is the only word they have got on their lips ; money I 

46 THE MISER. [ACT in. 

they always speak of money. That is their chief argu- 
ment, 38 money. 

VAL. I have never heard a more impertinent answer 
than that. A great wonder to dish up something good 
with plenty of money ! It is the easiest thing in the world ; 
any fool can do as much ; but a clever man should speak 
of dishing up something good with little money. 

JAC. Something good with little money ! 

VAL. Yes. 

JAC. (To Valere). Upon my word, Master Steward, you 
would oblige us by showing us that secret, and by taking 
my place as cook ; you that are meddling with everything 
in this house, and playing the factotum. 

HAR. Hold your tongue What shall we want ? 

JAC. Apply to your steward here, who will dish you up 
something good for little money. 

HAR. Enough ! I wish you to answer me. 

JAC. How many people are to sit down ? 

HAR. We shall be eight or ten ; but you must not count 
upon more than eight. If there is enought for eight, there 
is enough for ten. 

VAL. That needs no comment. 

JAC. Very well ! we must have four first-rate soups and 
five small dishes. Soups . . . Entrees . . . 

HAR. What the devil ! there is enough to feed a whole 

JAC. Roast . . . 

HAR. (Putting his hand over Jacques* mouth). Hold ! 
wretch, you will eat up all my substance. 

JAC. Side-dishes. 39 

HAR. (Putting his hand over Jacques 1 mouth again). 
What ! more still ? 

VAL. (To Jacques). Do you intend to make every one 

88 In the original epic de chevet, a sword that hung at the head of the 
bed, and was always ready at hand when needed ; hence figuratively an 
argument, an answer always ready at hand. 

39 In the edition of 1682, Master Jacques mentions a great many dishes 
by name ; but this is clearly an interpolation of some actor, who thought 
to be funnier than MoliSre, but who forgot that Harpagon would never 
have listened quietly to a long list of different things. In Fielding's Miser 
James (Jacques) enumerates also a great many eatables. 


burst ? and think you that master has invited people with 
the intention of killing them with food ? Go and read a 
little the precepts of health, and ask the doctors whether 
there is aught more prejudicial to man than eating to 

HAR. He is right. 

VAL. Learn, Master Jacques, you and the like of you, 
that a table overloaded with viands is a cut-throat business ; 
that, to show one's self the friend of those whom one in- 
vites, frugality should reign in the meals which one offers ; 
and that according to the saying of an ancient, we must 
eat to live, and not live to eat.*** 

HAR. Ah ! how well that is said ! Come here, that I 
may embrace you for that saying. This is the finest sen- 
tence that I ever heard in my life ; one must live to eat and 
not eat toli. . . No, that is not it. How do you put it? 

VAL. That we must eat to live and not live to eat. 

HAR. (T0 Master Jacques). That is it. Do you hear 
it? {To Valere). Who is the great man who has said 

VAL. I do not recollect his name just now. 

HAR. Just remember to write down these words for me : 
I wish to have them engraved in letters of gold on the 
mantel-piece of my dining-room. 

VAL. I shall not forget it. And as for your supper, you 
have but to leave it to me ; I shall manage everything 
right enough. 

HAR. Do so. 

JAC. So much the better ! I shall have less trouble. 

HAR. (To Valere). We must have some of these things 
of which people eat very little, and which fill quickly ; 
some good fat beans, with a potted pie, well stuffed with 
chesnuts. Let there be plenty of that. 

VAL. Depend upon me. 

HAR. And now, Master Jacques, you must clean my 

JAC. Wait ; that is a matter for the coachman. (Puts 
his livery coat on). You were saying . . . 

40 The Romans had a kind of adage ede ut vivas, ne vivas ut eda 
which they sometimes expressed by the initials E. V. V. N. V. V. E. 

48 THE MISER. [ACT m. 

HAR. That you must clean my coacn, and hold the 
horses in readiness to drive to the fair . . . 

JAC. Your horses, Sir? Upon my word, they are not 
at all in a fit state to go. I will not tell you that they are 
on the straw; the poor beasts have not got even that 
much, and it would not be telling the truth; but you 
make them keep such austere fasts that they are no longer 
anything but ghosts or shadows, with horses' shapes. 

HAR. They are very ill, and yet they are doing nothing J 

JAC. And because they do nothing, Sir, must they not 
eat? It would be far better to work the poor brutes 
much, and to feed them the same. It breaks my heart to 
see them in such a wretched condition ; for, after all, I 
have got tender feeling for my horses; it seems to me 
it is myself, when I see them suffer. Not a day passes but 
I take the meat out of my own mouth to feed them ; 
and, Sir, it is being too cruel to have no pity for one's 

HAR. The work will not be very hard to go as far as 
the fair. 

JAC. No, Sir, I have not the heart to drive them, and I 
would not have it on my conscience to give them the 
whip in the state in which they are. How can you wish 
them to draw a coach when they can hardly drag them- 
selves along? 

VAL. Sir, I will make our neighbour, Picard, take 
charge of them and drive them ; he will be at the same 
time needed to get the supper ready. 

JAC. Be it so; I prefer their dying under other people's 
hands than under mine. 

VAL. Master Jacques is getting considerate ! 

JAC. Sir Steward is getting indispensable ! 

HAR. Peace. 

JAC. I cannot bear flatterers, Sir; and I see what he 
makes of it ; that his perpetual looking after the bread, 
the wine, the wood, the salt, the candles, is done only 
with the view of currying favour with you, and getting 
into your good books. This drives me mad, and I am 
sorry to hear every day what the world says of you ; for, 
after all, I have some feeling for you; and, after my 
horses, you are the person whom I love most. 

CINE vi.] THE MISER. 49 

HAR. Might I know, Master Jacques, what people say 
of me. 

JAC. Yes, Sir, if I could be sure that it would not make 
you angry. 

HAR. No, not in the least. 

JAC. I beg your pardon ; I know full well that I shall 
put you in a rage. 

HAR. Not at all. On the contrary, it will be obliging 
me, and I shall be glad to learn how people speak of 

JAC. Since you will have it, Sir, I shall tell you frankly 
that people everywhere make a jest of you, that they pelt 
us with a thousand jokes from every quarter on your 
account, and that they are never more delighted than 
when holding you up to ridicule, and continually relating 
stories of your meanness. One says that you have special 
almanacks printed, in which you double the ember weeks 
and vigils, in order to profit by the fast days, which you 
compel your people to keep ; another that you have always 
a quarrel ready for your servants at New Year's day, or 
when they leave you, so that you may find a reason for 
not giving them anything. That one tells that you once 
sued one of your neighbour's cats for having eaten the 
remainder of a leg of mutton ; this one again that you 
were surprised one night in purloining the hay of your 
own horses, and that your coachman, that is, the one who 
was here before me, dealt you I do not know how many 
blows in the dark, of which you never broached a word. 
In short, shall I tell you ? one can go nowhere without 
hearing you hauled over the coals on all sides. You are 
the byword and laughing-stock of every one; and you 
are never spoken of, except under the names of miser, 
curmudgeon, hunks and usurer. 

HAR. (Thrashing Master Jacques). You are a numscull, 
a rascal, a scoundrel, and an impudent fellow. 

JAC. Well ! did I not say so beforehand ? You would 
not believe me. I told you well enough that I should 
make you angry by telling you the truth. 

HAR. That will teach you how to speak. 


$0 THE MISER. [ACT ln . 


VAL. (Laughing). From what I can see, Master Jacques, 
your candour is ill rewarded. 

JAC. Zounds ! Master Upstart, who assume the man of 
consequence, it is not your business. Laugh at your cud- 
gel-blows when you shall receive them, but do not come 
here to laugh at mine. 

VAL. Ah ! Sir Master Jacques, do not get angry, I beg 
of you. 

JAC. (Aside). He is knuckling under. I shall bully 
him, and, if he is fool enough to be afraid of me, I shall 
give him a gentle drubbing. (Aloud ). Are you aware, 
Master Laugher, that I am not in a laughing humour, and 
that if you annoy me, I will make you laugh on the wrong 
side of your mouth. 

(Master Tacques drives Valere to the far end 
of the stage, threatening him. 

VAL. Eh! gently. 

JAC. How, gently ? it does not suit me. 

VAL. Pray. 

JAC. You are an impertinent fellow. 

VAL. Sir Master Jacques . . . 

JAC. There is no Sir Master Jacques at all. 41 If I had 
a stick, I would give you a good drubbing. 

VAL. How, a stick ! ( Valere makes Master Jacques 
retreat in his turn. 

JAC. Eh ! I was not speaking of that. 

VAL. Are you aware, Master Boaster, that I am the 
very man to give you a drubbing myself? 

JAC. I do not doubt it. 

A r AL. That you are, in all, nothing but a scrub of a 
cook ? 

JAC. I am well aware of it. 

VAL. And that you do not know me yet ? 

JAC. I ask your pardon. 

VAL. You will thrash me, say you? 

JAC. I said so only in jest. 

VAL. And I say, that I do not relish your jests. 

41 The original has pour un double. A double was a very small coin ; 
hence it is used for " not at all.'' 


(Thrashing him with a stick). This will teach you, that 
you are but a sorry clown. 42 

JAC. (Alone). The plague take my candour ! it is a bad 
business : I give it up for the future, and I will no more 
speak the truth. I might put up with it from my master; 
he has some right to thrash me ; but as for this Master 
Steward, I will have my revenge if I can. 


FRO. Do you know, Master Jacques, if your master is 
at home ? 

JAC. Yes, indeed, he is ; I know it but too well. 
FRO. Tell him, pray, that we are here. 


MAR. Ah ! I feel very strange, Frosine ! and, if I must 
tell you what I feel, I dread this interview ! 

FRO. But why, and whence this uneasiness ? 

MAR. Alas ! can you ask me ? and can you not imagine 
the alarms of any one at the sight of the rack to which she 
is going to be tied? 

FRO. I see well enough, that to die pleasantly, Harpa- 
gon, is not exactly the rack which you would care to em- 
brace ; and I can see by your face, that this young spark, 
of whom you spoke to me, comes afresh into your head. 

MAR. Yes ! it is an accusation, Frosine, from which I 
shall not defend myself; and the respectful visits which 
he has paid us, have, I confess, made some impression on 
my heart. 

Fro. But have you ascertained who he is ? 

MAR. No, I do not know who he is. But this I know, 
that he is made to be beloved : that, if things could be 
left to my choice, I would sooner have him than any other, 
and that he is the chief cause in making me feel that the 
husband whom they wish to give me is a terrible torment. 

FRO. Egad, all these youngsters are agreeable, and play 
their part well enough, but most of them are as poor as 
church mice : it will be much better for you to take an old 

' This, according to Riccoboni, seems to be taken from an Italian play 
La Cameriera mobile (the noble-born Ladies-Maid). 

52 THE MISER. [ ACT m . 

husband who will make you a good settlement. I grant 
you that the senses will not find their account so well on 
the side I speak of, and that there are some little distastes 
to overcome with such a spouse ; but that cannot last, and 
his death, believe me, will soon put you in a position to 
take one who is more amiable, and who will mend all 

MAR. Good gracious ! Frosine, it is a strange thing 
that, to be happy, we should wish for or await the death 
of some one ; the more so as death does not always accom- 
modate itself to our projects. 

FRO. Are you jesting ? You marry him only on condi- 
tion of soon leaving you a widow ; and that must be one 
of the articles of the contract. It would be impertinent 
in him not to die within three months ! ** Here he is him- 

MAR. Ah ! Frosine, what a figure ! 


HAR. ( To Mariane). Do not be offended, my beauty, 
that I come to you with my spectacles on. I know that 
your charms strike the eye sufficiently, are visible enough 
by themselves, and that there is no need of spectacles to 
perceive them ; but after all, it is through them that we 
look at the stars," and I maintain and vouch for it that 
you are a star ; but a star, the brightest in the land of 
stars. Frosine, she does not answer a word, and does not 
testify, from what I can perceive, the slightest joy in see- 
ing me. 

FRO. It is because she is as yet taken all aback ; and 
besides, girls are always ashamed to show at first sight 
what passes in their hearts. 

48 In the second scene of the second act, Master Simon informs Harpa- 
gon that Cteante " will engage himself, that his father shall die before 
eight months are over." Her Frosine says : " It would be impertinent in 
him (Harpagon) not to die within three months." These unseemly jokes 
are signs of the times in which MoliSre lived, and in which there was less 
outward delicacy of feeling than at present. 

44 The French for spectacles is lunettes, and for a telescope, lunette 
t'approche, but in Molie're's time often simply lunette ; hence the play on 


HAR. You are right. (To Mariane). Here comes my 
daughter, sweet child, to welcome you. 


MAR. I am much behind, Madam, in acquitting myself 
of such a visit. 

EL. You have done, Madam, what it was my duty to 
do, and it was my place to have been beforehand with 

HAR. You see what a great girl she is ; but ill weeds 
grow apace - 

MAR. (In a whisper, to Frosine}. O ! what an un- 
pleasant man ! 

HAR. (In a whisper, to Frosine). What says the fair one? 

FRO. That she thinks you admirable. 

HAR. You do me too much honour, adorable pet. 

MAR. (Aside}. What a brute ! 

HAR. I am much obliged to you for these sentiments. 

MAR. (Aside). I can hold out no longer. 


HAR. There comes my son also, to pay his respects to 

MAR. (In a whisper, to Frosine). Ah ! Frosine, what 
a meeting ! It is the very person of whom I spoke to 

FRO. (To Mariane). The adventure is wonderful. 

HAR. I see that you are surprised at my having such 
grown-up children ; but I shall soon be rid of one and 
the other. 

CLE. (To Mariane}. Madam, to tell you the truth, 
this is an adventure, which no doubt, I did not expect ; 
and my father has not a little astonished me, when, a 
short time ago, he communicated to me the plan which 
he had formed. 

MAR. I may say the same thing. It is an unforeseen 
meeting which surprises me as much as it does you ; and 
I was not at all prepared for such an adventure. 

CLE. It is true that my father, Madam, could not make 
a better choice, and that the honour of seeing you gives 

54 THE MISER. [ACT in. 

me unfeigned joy, but for all that, I cannot give you the 
assurance that I rejoice at the design which you may have 
of becoming my step-mother. I avow to you that it would 
be too much for me to pay you that compliment ; and by 
your leave, it is a title which I do not wish you. This 
speech may become coarse to some ; but I am sure that 
you will be the one to take it in the proper sense ; that it 
is a marriage, Madam, for which, as you may well imagine, 
I can have only repugnance ; that you are not unaware, 
knowing what I am, how it clashes with my interests; and 
that, in short, you will not take it amiss when I tell you, 
with the permission of my father, that, if matters depended 
upon me, this marriage would not take place. * 

HAR. This is a most impertinent compliment ! What 
a pretty confession to make to her ! 

MAR. And I, in reply, must tell you, that things are 
pretty equal ; and that, if you have any repugnance in 
seeing me your step-mother, I shall have, doubtless, no 
less in seeing you my step-son. Do not think, I pray you, 
that it is I who seek to give you that uneasiness. I should 
be very sorry to cause you any displeasure ; and unless I 
see myself compelled to it by an absolute power, I give 
you my word that I shall not consent to a marriage that 
vexes you. 

HAR. She is right. To a silly compliment, a similar 
retort is neceseary. I beg your pardon, my dear, for the 
impertinence of my son ; he is a young fool, who does not 
as yet know the consequence of what he says. 

MAR. I promise you that what he has said has not at all 
offended me ; on the contrary, he has pleased me by ex- 
plaining thus his real feelings. I like such an avowal from 
his lips; and if he had spoken in any other way, I should 
have esteemed him the less for it. 

HAR. It is too good of you to be willing thus to con- 
done his faults. Time will make him wiser, and you shall 
see that he will alter his sentiments. 

CLE. No, father, I am incapable of changing upon that 
point, and I beg urgently of this lady to believe me. 

HAR. But see what madness ! he goes still more strongly. 

45 In the original, Quanta's speech is uttered in irregular blank verse. 

SCENE xii.] THE MISER. 55 

CLE Do you wish me to go against my own heart ? 

HAR. Again ! Perhaps you will be kind enough to 
change the conversation. 

CLE. Well ! since you wish me to speak in a different 
manner, allow me, Madam, to put myself in my father's 
place, and to confess to you that I have seen nothing in 
the world so charming as you ; that I conceive nothing 
equal to the happiness of pleasing you, and that the title 
of your husband is a glory, a felicity which I would prefer 
to the destinies of the greatest princes on earth. Yes, 
Madam, the happiness of possessing you is, in my eyes, 
the best of all good fortunes; the whole of my ambition 
points to that. There is nothing which I would shrink 
from to make so precious a conquest; and the most pow- 
erful obstacles . . . 

HAR. Gently, son, if you please. 

CLE. It is a compliment which I pay for you to this 

HAR. Good Heavens ! I have a tongue to explain my- 
self, and I have no need of an interpreter like you. Come, 
hand chairs. 

FRO. No ; it is better that we should go to the fair now, 
so that we may return the sooner, and have ample time 
afterwards to converse with you. 

HAR. ( To Brindavoine). Have the horses put to the 


HAR. {To Mariane). I pray you to excuse me, fair 
child, if I forgot to offer you some refreshments before 

CLE. I have provided for it, father, and have ordered 
some plates of China oranges, sweet citrons, and preserves, 
which I have sent for in your name. 

HAR. (Softly to Valere). Valere ! 

VAL. ( To Harpagon). He has lost his senses. 

CLE. Do you think, father, that it is not sufficient ? 
This lady will have the goodness to excuse that, if it 
please her. 

56 THE MISER. [ 4CT nl . 

MAR. It was not at all necessary. 

CLE. Have you ever seen, Madam, a diamond more 
sparkling than the one which you see on my father's 
finger ? 

MAR. It sparkles much indeed. 

CLE. ( Taking the diamond off his father's fingers, and 
handing it to Mariane). You must see it close. 

MAR. It is no doubt very beautiful, and throws out a 
deal of light. 

CLE. (Placing himself before Mariane, who is about to 
return the diamond}. No, Madam, it is in hands too 
beautiful. It is a present which my father makes you. 

HAR. I? 

CLE. Is it not true, father, that you wish this lady to 
keep it for your sake. 

HAR. (Softly to his son). How? 

CLE. (To Mariane). A pretty request indeed ! He has 
given me a sign to make you accept it. 

MAR. I do not wish to ... 

CLE. (To Mariane). Are you jesting? He does not 
care to take it back. 

HAR. (Aside). I am bursting with rage ! 

MAR. It would be ... 

CLE. (Preventing Mariane from returning the diamond). 
No, I tell you; you would offend him. 

MAR. Pray . . . 

CLE. Not at all. 

HAR. (Aside). May the plague . . . 

CLE. He is getting angry at your refusal. 

HAR. (Softly to his son). Ah ! you wretch ! 

CLE. (To Mariane). You see that he is getting despe- 

HAR. (In a suppressed tone to his son, threatening him). 
Murderer that you are ! 

CLE. It is not my fault, father. I am doing all that I 
can to make her keep it ; but she is obstinate. 

HAR. (/ a great passion, whispering to his son). Hang- 
dog ! 

CLE. You are the cause, Madam, of my father's upbraid- 
ing me. 

HAR. {Same as before, to his son). The scoundrel ! 


CLE. (To Mariane). You will make him ill. Pray, 
Madam, do not resist any longer. 

FRO. (To Mariane). Good Heavens, what ceremonies! 
Keep the ring, since the gentleman wishes it. 

MAR. (To Harpagon). Not to put you into a passion, I 
shall keep it now, and I shall take another opportunity of 
returning it to you. 46 


BRIN. Sir, there is a man who wishes to speak to you. 

HAR. Tell him that I am engaged, that he is to return 
at another time. 

BRIN. He says that he brings you some money. 

HAR. {To Mariane). I beg your pardon; I shall be 
back directly. 


MER. {Running against Harpagon, whom he knocks 
down}. Sir . . . 

HAR. Oh ! I am killed ! 

CLE. What is it, father? have you hurt yourself? 

HAR. The wretch has surely been bribed by my debtors 
to make me break my neck. 

VAL. (To Harpagon). That will be nothing. 

MER. (To Harpagon). I beg your pardon, Sir; I 
thought I was doing well in running quickly. 

HAR. What have you come here for, you hangdog? 

MER. To tell you that your two horses have lost their 

HAR. Let them be taken to the farrier immediately. 

CLE. While waiting for their being shod, I will do the 
honours of your house for you, father, and conduct this 
lady into the garden, whither I shall have the refreshments 

46 In an Italian farce, le Case svaliggiate (the robbed house), it is a 
servant who acts in the same way as Cleante ; but Moliere has made the 
scene more comical by letting the son give the ring in his father's name. 

58 THE MISER. [ACT iv. 


HAR. Valere, keep your eye a little on this, and take 
care, I pray you, to save as much of it as you can, to send 
back to the tradespeople. 

VAL. I know. 

HAR. (Alone). O, impertinent son ! do you mean to 
ruin me? 



CLE. Let us go in here ; we shall be much better. 
There is no suspicious person near us now, and we can 
converse freely. 

EL. Yes, Madam, my brother has confided to me the 
affection which he feels for you. I am aware of the grief 
and unpleasantness which such obstacles are capable of 
causing ; and it is, I assure you, with the utmost tender- 
ness that I interest myself in your adventure. 

MAR. It is a sweet consolation to see some one like you 
in one's interest ; and I implore you, Madam, always to 
reserve for me this generous friendship, so capable of 
alleviating the cruelties of fortune. 

FRO. You are, upon my word, both unlucky people, in 
not having warned me before this of your affair. I would, 
no doubt, have warded off this uneasiness from you, and 
not have carried matters so far as they now are. 

CLE. Whose fault is it ? It is my evil destiny that has 
willed it so. But fair Mariane, what have you resolved 
to do? 

MAR. Alas ! am I able to make any resolutions? And, 
in the dependent position in which you see me, can I form 
aught else than wishes ? 

CLE. No other support in your heart for me than mere 
wishes? No strenuous pity? No helping kindness? No 
energetic affection ? 

MAR. What can I say to you ? Put yourself in my 
place, and see what I can do. Advise, command your- 
self : I leave the matter to you ; and I think you too rea- 


sonable to wish to exact from me aught but what may be 
consistent with honour and decency. 

CLE. Alas ! to what strait do you reduce me by driving 
me back to what the annoying dictates of a rigorous 
honour and a scrupulous decency only will permit? 

MAR. But what would you have me to do? Even if I 
could forego the many scruples to which my sex compels 
me, I have some consideration for my mother. She has 
always brought me up with the utmost tenderness, and I 
could not make up my mind to cause her any displeasure. 
Treat, transact with her ; use all your means to gain her 
mind. You may say and do whatever you like, I give 
you full power ; and if nothing is wanting but to declare 
myself in your favour, I am willing, myself, to make to 
her the avowal of all that I feel for you.* 7 

CLE. Frosine, dear Frosine, will you try to serve us? 

FRO. Upon my word, need you ask? I should like it 
with all my heart. You know that, naturally, I am kind- 
hearted enough. Heaven has not given me a heart of 
iron, and I have only too much inclination for rendering 
little services when I see people who love each other in all 
decency and honour. What can we do in this matter ? 

CLE. Pray consider a little. 

MAR. Give us some advice. 

EL. Invent some means of undoing what you have done. 

FRO. That is difficult enough. {To Mariane). As for 
your mother, she is not altogether unreasonable, and we 
might perhaps prevail upon her and induce her to transfer 
to the son the gift which she wished to make to the father. 
(To Cleante}. But the mischief in it is, that your father is 
your father. 

CLE. Of course. 

FRO. I mean that he will bear malice if he finds that he 
is refused, and that he will not be of a mind afterwards to 
give his consent to your marriage. To do well, the refusal 
ought to come from himself, and she ought to try, by some 
means, to inspire him with a disgust towards her. 

CLE. You are right. 

FRO. Yes I am right ; I know that well enough. That 

47 Mariane's speech, according to M. Genin, is written in blank verse. 


is what is wanted, but how the deuce can we find the 
means? Stop ! Suppose we had some woman a little ad- 
vanced in age who had my talent, and acted sufficiently 
well to counterfeit a lady of quality, by the help of a retinue 
made up in haste, and with an ecccentric name of a mar- 
chioness or a viscountess, whom we will suppose to come 
from Lower Brittany, I would have skill enough to make 
your father believe that she was a person possessed of a 
hundred thousand crowns in ready money, besides her 
houses; that she was distractedly enamoured of him, and 
had so set her mind upon being his wife, that she would 
make all her property over to him by marriage-contract. 
I do not doubt that he would lend an ear to this proposal. 
For, after all, he loves you much, I know it, but he loves 
money a little more; and when, dazzled with this bait, 
he had once given his consent in what concerns you, it 
would matter very little if he were afterwards disabused, 
when he wished to see more clearly into the property of 
our marchioness. 

CLE. All this is very well conceived. 

FRO. Let me manage. I just recollect one of my friends 
who will suit us. 

CLE. Be assured of my gratitude, Frosine, if you carry 
out this matter. But, charming Mariane, let us begin, I 
pray you, by gaining over your mother ; it is doing much, 
at any rate, to break off this match. Make every possible 
effort on your part, I entreat you. Employ all the power 
which her tenderness for you gives you over her. Show 
her unreservedly the eloquent graces, the all-powerful 
charms, with which Heaven has endowed your eyes and 
your lips; and please do not overlook any of these tender 
words, of these sweet prayers, and of these winning caresses 
to which, I am persuaded, nothing can be refused. 

MAR. I will do my best, and forget nothing. 


HAR. {Aside, without being seen). Hey day! my son 
kisses the hand of his intended stepmother ; and his in- 
tended stepmother does not seem to take it much amiss! 
Can there be any mystery underneath this? 


EL. Here is my father. 

HAR. The carriage is quite ready; you can start as soon 
as you like. 

CLE. Since you are not going, father, permit me to 
escort them. 

HAR. No : remain here. They will do well enough by 
themselves, and I want you. 


HAR. Now, tell me, apart from becoming your step- 
mother, what think you of this lady? 

CLE. What do I think of her? 

HAR. Yes, of her air, of her figure, of her beauty, of 
her mind ? 

CLE. So, so. 

HAR. That is no answer. 

CLE. To speak to you candidly, I have not found her 
what I expected. Her air is that of a downright coquette, 
her figure is sufficiently awkward, her beauty very so-so, 
and her mind very ordinary. Do not think, father, that 
this is said to give you a distaste to her ; for, stepmother 
for stepmother, I would as soon have her as any other. 

HAR. You said to her just now, however . . . 

CLE. I have said some sweet nothings to her in your 
name, but it was to please you. 

HAR. So much so, that you would not feel any inclina- 
tion towards her ? 

CLE. I ? not at all. 

HAR. I am sorry for it ; for it does away with an idea 
that came into my head. In seeing her here, I have 
reflected upon my age ; and I thought that people might 
find something to cavil at in seeing me marry so young a 
girl. This consideration has made me abandon the plan; 
and as I have made the demand of her hand, and am 
engaged to her by my word, I would have given her to 
you, had it not been for the aversion which you show. 

CLE. To me ? 

HAR. To you. 

CLE. In marriage ? 

HAR. In marriage. 

CLE. Listen. It is true that she is not much to my 


taste ; but to please you, father, I would make up my 
mind to marry her, if you wish it. 

HAR. I, I am more reasonable than you give me credit 
for. I will not force your inclination. 

CLE. Pardon me ; I will make this effort for your sake. 

HAR. No, no. No marriage can be happy where there 
is no inclination. 

CLE. Perhaps it will come afterwards, father ; they say- 
that love is often the fruit of wedlock. 

HAR. No. From the side of the man, one must not 
risk such a thing ; it generally brings grievous conse- 
quences, to which I do not care to commit myself. Had 
you felt any inclination for her, it would have been a 
different thing; I should have made you marry her instead 
of me ; but, that not being the case, I will follow up my 
first plan, and marry her myself. 

CLE. Well ! father, since matters are so, I must lay 
open my heart to you ; I must reveal our secret to you. 
The truth is, I love her, since, on a certain day, I saw her 
walking ; that my plan was, a short while ago, to ask her 
to become my wife, and that nothing restrained me but 
the declaration of your sentiments, and the fear of dis- 
pleasing you. 

HAR. Have you paid her any visits ? a 

CLE. Yes, father. 

HAR. Many times? 

CLE. Just enough, considering the time of our ac- 

HAR. Have you been well received ? 

CLE. Very well, indeed, but. without her knowing who 
I was ; and that is what just now caused the surprise of 

HAR. Have you declared your passion to her, and the 
design you had to marry her? 

CLE. Undoubtedly ; and I even made some overtures to 
her mother about it. 

HAR. Has she listened to your proposal for her 
daughter ? 

48 In the original Harpagon who, until now, has " thee and thoued " 
his son, begins to employ here " you." 

CNK iv.] THE MISER. 63 

CLE. Yes, very civilly. 

HAR. And does the girl much reciprocate your love ? 

CLE. If I am to believe appearances, I flatter myself, 
father, that she has some affection for me. 

HAR. (Softly, to himself). I am glad to have found out 
such a secret ; that is just what I wished. (Aloud). Hark 
you, my son, do you know what you will have to do. You 
must think, if you please, of getting rid of your love, of 
ceasing from all pursuit of a person whom I intended for 
myself, and of marrying shortly the one who has been des- 
tined for you. 49 

CLE. So, father ; it is thus that you trick me ! Well ! 
since matters have come to this pass, I declare to you, that 
I will not get rid of my love for Mariane ; that there is 
nothing from which I shall shrink to dispute with you 'her 
possession ; and that, if you have the consent of a mother 
on your side, I have other resources, perhaps, which will 
combat on mine. 

HAR. What, hang-dog, you have the audacity to poach 
on my preserves. 

CLE. It is you that are poaching on mine. I am the 
first comer. 

HAR. Am I not your father, and do you not owe me 
respect ? 

CLE. This is not a matter in which a child is obliged 
to defer to his father, and love is no respecter of persons. 

HAR. I will make you respect me well enough with some 
sound cudgel-blows. 

CLE. All your threats will do nothing. 

HAR. You shall renounce Mariane. 

CLE. I shall do nothing of the kind. 

HAR. Give me a stick immediately. 


JAC. Eh, eh, eh, gentlemen, what is all this ? what are 
you thinking about ? 

CLE. I do not care a straw. 

49 This scene of a father, rival of his son, says Voltaire, has also been 
treated by Racine, in his tragedy of Mithridate ; but Racine caused tears 
to be shed, in representing the amorous weakness of a great king; whilst 
Molidre has shown the ridiculous affection of an old miser. 

64 THE MISER. [ACT iv. 

JAC. (To Cleante). Come, Sir, gently. 

HAR. To speak to me with such impertinence ! 

JAC. (To Harpagon). Pray Sir, pray ! 

CLE. I will not bate a jot. 

JAC. (To Clean fe). Eh what ! to your father? 

HAR. Let me alone. 

JAC. (To Harpagon). What! to your son? I could 
overlook it to myself. 

HAR. I will make yourself, Master Jacques, judge in 
this affair, to show you that I am in the right. 

JAC. I consent. (To Cleante). ' Get a little farther 

HAR. I love a girl whom I wish to marry ; and the 
hang-dog has the insolence to love her also, and to aspire 
to her hand in spite of my commands. 50 

JAC. He is wrong there. 

HAR. Is it not a dreadful thing for a son to wish to 
enter into rivalry with his father ? and ought he not, out 
of respect, to abstain from meddling with my inclina- 

JAC. You are right. Let me speak to him, while you 
remain here. 

CLE. (To Master Jacques, who is approaching him), 
Well ! yes, since he chooses you as judge, I shall not draw 
back ; it matters not to me who it may be ; and I am 
willing to refer to you, Master Jacques, in this our 

JAC. You do me much honour. 

CLE. I am smitten with a young girl who returns my 
affection, and tenderly accepts the offer of my love : and 
my father takes it into his head to come and trouble our 
passion, by asking for her hand. 

JAC. He is assuredly wrong. 

CLE. Is he not ashamed at his age to think of marry- 
ing ? Does it still become him to be in love, and should 
he not leave this pastime to young people ? 

JAC. You are right. He is only jesting. Let me speak 
a few words to him. ( To Harpagon). Well ! your son 

60 Master Jacques, who has been so badly rewarded for his love of truth 
in the fifth scene of the third act, adopts here another line of conduct which 
will turn out still worse for him. 

scENBiv.] THE MISER. 65 

is not so strange as you make him out, and he is amena- 
ble to reason. He says that he knows the respect which 
he owes you, that he was only carried away by momentary 
warmth ; and that he will not refuse to submit to your 
pleasure, provided you will treat him better than you do, 
and give him some one for a wife with whom he shall have 
reason to be satisfied. 

HAR. Ah ! tell him, Master Jacques, that, if he looks at 
it in that way, he may expect everything of me and that, 
except Mariane, I leave him free to choose whom he 

JAC. Let me manage it. (To Cleante). Well ! your 
father is not so unreasonable as you make him out ; and 
he has shown me that it was your violence that made him 
angry ; that he objects only to your behaviour ; and that 
he will be very much disposed to grant you what you wish, 
provided you shall do things gently, and show him the 
deference, the respect, and the submission which a son 
owes to his father. 

CLE. Ah ! Master Jacques, you may assure him that if 
he grants me Mariane, he will always find me the most 
submissive of beings, and that I never shall do anything 
except what he wishes. 

JAC. (To Harpagori). That is done. He consents to 
what you say. 

HAR. Then things will go on in the best possible way. 

JAC. (To Cleante}. Everything is arranged; he is sat- 
isfied with your promises ! 

CLE. Heaven be praised ! 

JAC. Gentlemen, you have but to talk the matter over : 
you are agreed now, and you were going to quarrel for 
want of understanding each other. 

CLE. My dear Master Jacques, I shall be obliged to you 
all my life. 

JAC. Do not mention it, Sir. 

HAR. You have given me great pleasure, Master Jac- 
ques ; and that deserves a reward. (Harpagon fumbles in 
his pockets ; Master Jacques holds out his hand, but Harpa- 
gon only draws out his handkerchief}. Go now, I shall re- 
member this, I assure you. 

JAC. I kiss your hands. 




CLE. I ask your pardon, father, for the passion which I 
have displayed. 

HAR. Never mind. 

CLE. I assure you that I regret it exceedingly. 

HAR, And I, I have the greatest delight in seeing you 

CLE. How good of you to forget my fault so quickly ! 

HAR. The faults of children are easily forgotten, when 
they return to their duty. 

CLE. What ! not retain any resentment for all my 
extravagance ? 

HAR. You compel me to it, by the submission and the 
respect to which you pledge yourself. 

CLE. I promise you, father, that I shall carry the recol- 
lection of your goodness to my grave with me. 

HAR. And I, I promise you, that you may obtain any- 
thing from me. 

CLE. Ah ! father, I ask for nothing more ; you have 
given me enough by giving me Mariane. 

HAR. How! 

CLE. I say, father, that I am too well pleased with you, 
and that I find everything in your kindness in giving me 

HAR. Who says anything to you of giving you Mariane? 

CLE. You, father. 

HAR. I! 

CLE. Undoubtedly. 

HAR. What ! it is you who have promised to renounce 

CLE. I renounce her ! 

HAR. Yes. 

CLE. Not at all. 

HAR. You have not given up your pretensions to her ? 

CLE. On the contrary, I am more determined than ever 
upon them. 

HAR. What ! hang-dog, you begin afresh ? 

CLE. Nothing can change my mind. 

HAR. Let me get at you, wretch. 

CLE. Do what you like. 


HAR. I forbid you ever to come within my sight. 

CLE. All right. 

HAR. I abandon you. 

CLE. Abandon as much as you like. 

HAR. I disown you as my son. 

CLE. Be it so. 

HAR. I disinherit you. 

CLE. Whatever you please. 

HAR. And I give you my malediction. 

CLE. I want none of your gifts. 57 


LA FL. {Coming from the garden with a casket under 
his arm). Ah ! Sir, I find you in the nick of time ! Follow 
me quickly. 

CLE. What is the matter? 

LA FL. Follow me, I tell you ; we are all right. 

CLE. How? 

LA FL. Here is your affair. 

CLE. What? 

LA FL. I keep my eye upon this the whole day. 

CLE. What is it ? 

LA FL. The treasure of your father, which I have laid 
hands on. 

CLE. How did you manage ? 

LA FL. You shall know all. Let us fly; I hear his 

SCENE VII. HARPAGON, aloud, shouting in the garden, 
rushing in without his hat. 

Thieves ! Thieves ! Murder ! Stop the murderers ! 
Justice! just Heaven! I am lost! I am killed; they have 
cut my throat ; they have stolen my money. Who can it 
be? What has become of him? Where is he? Where 
does he hide himself? What shall I do to find him? 
Where to run? Where not to run? Is he not there? 
Who is it ? Stop ! ( To himself, pressing his own artri). 

5T Several of Moliere's commentators have observed that Cleante's im- 
pudent answers only prove the truth of the saying, "like father like soft," 
and that a miserly father must produce such a disobedient child. 

68 THE MISER. [ ACT v . 

Give me back my money, scoundrel . . . Ah, it is 
myself! My senses are wandering, and I do not know 
where I am, who I am, and what I am doing. Alas ! my 
poor money ! my poor money ! my dearest friend, they 
have deprived me of you ; and as you are taken from me, 
I have lost my support, my consolation, my joy: every- 
thing is at an end for me, and I have nothing more to do 
in this world. Without you, life becomes impossible. 
It is all over; I am utterly exhausted; I am dying; 
I am dead; I am buried. Is there no one who will 
resuscitate me by giving me back my beloved money, or 
by telling me who has taken it ? Eh ! what do you say ? 
There is no one. Whoever he is who has done this, he 
must have carefully watched his hour; and he has just 
chosen the time when I was speaking to my wretch of a 
son. Let us go. I must inform the authorities, and 
have the whole of my household examined; female- 
servants, male -servants, son, daughter, and myself also. 
What an assembly ! I do not look at any one whom I do 
not suspect, and every one seems to be my thief. Eh ! 
what are they speaking of yonder? of him who has 
robbed me? What noise is that up there? Is it my thief 
who is there? For pity's sake, if you know any news of 
my thief, I implore you to tell me. Is he not hidden 
among you? They are all looking at me, and laughing in 
my face. You will see that they have, no doubt, a share 
in the robbery. Come quickly, magistrates, police- 
officers, provosts, judges, instruments of torture, gibbets, 
and executioners. I will have the whole world hanged ; 
and if I do not recover my money, I will hang myself 


MAG. Let me manage it; I know my business, thank 
Heaven. To-day is not the first time that I am engaged 
in discovering robberies; and I should like to have as 
many bags of a thousand francs as I have been instrumen- 
tal in hanging people. 


HAR. Every magistrate must have an interest in taking 
this matter in hand ; and, if they do not enable me to 
find my money again, I shall demand justice unpon the 
authorities themselves. 

MAG. We must take all the needful steps. You said 
that there was in this box . . . 

HAR. Ten thousand crowns in cash. 

MAG. Ten thousand crowns ! 

HAR. (Crying). Ten thousand crowns. 

MAG. The robbery is considerable ! 

HAR. There is no punishment great enough for the 
enormity of this crime ; and, if it remain unpunished, the 
most sacred things are no longer safe. 

MAG. And in what coin was this sum? 

HAR. In good louis d'or and pistoles without a flaw. 5 * 

MAG. Whom do you suspect of this robbery ? 

HAR. Every one ; and I wish you to arrest the town and 
the suburbs. 

MAG. You must, if you will take my opinion, scare no- 
body, but endeavour gently to collect some proofs, in order 
to act afterwards, by severer process, to recover the coin 
which has been taken from you. 


JAC. (At the far end of the stage, turning towards the door 
by which he entered}. I am coming back directly. Let its 
throat be cut immediately ; let them singe me its feet ; let 
them put it in boiling water, and let them hang it from 
the ceiling. 

HAR. Who? he who has robbed me? 

JAC. I am speaking of a sucking pig which your steward 
has just sent in, and I wish to dress it for you after my 
own fancy. 

HAR. There is no question of that ; and this is a gentle- 
man to whom you must speak of something else. 

MAG. (To Master Jacques}. Do not be alarmed. I am 

52 In French " pistoles without a flaw," are pistoles bien trebuchantes. 
The trebuchet was a small and very sensitive pair of scales ; hence coin, 
which had not its full weight, was not called trebuchant. 

70 THE MISER. [ACT v. 

not the man to cause any scandal, and matters will be 
managed in a gentle way. 

JAC. Is this gentleman of the supper party ? 

MAG. In this case, dear friend, you must hide nothing 
from your master. 

JAC. Upon my word, Sir, I shall show all I know, and I 
shall treat you in the best possible way. 

HAR. That is not the question. 

JAC. If I do not dish you up something as good as I 
could wish, it is the fault of your Master Steward, who has 
clipped my wings with the scissors of his economy. 

HAR. You wretch ! it concerns something else than the 
supper; and I wish you to give me some information re- 
specting the money that has been stolen from me. 

JAC. They have stolen some money from you ? 

HAR. Yes, you scoundrel : and I shall have you hanged 
if you do not give it me back again. 

MAG. (To Harpagori). Good Heavens! do not ill-use 
him. I perceive by his face that he is an honest man, and 
that, without having him locked up, he will inform you of 
what you wish to know. Yes, my friend, if you confess 
the matter to me, no harm will come to you, and you will 
be suitably rewarded by your master. They have robbed 
him of his money to-day ; and it is scarcely possible that 
you do not know something of the matter. 

JAC. {Aside to himself}. This is just what I wish, in 
order to revenge myself on our steward. Since he has set 
foot in this house, he is the favourite ; his counsels are the 
only ones listened to ; and the cudgel-blows, just now re- 
ceived, are also sticking in my throat. 

HAR. What are you muttering to yourself about ? 

MAG. ( To Harpagon). Leave him alone. He is prepar- 
ing to give you satisfaction ; and I told you that he was 
an honest man. 

JAC. If you wish me to tell you things as they are, Sir, 
I believe that it is your dear steward who has done this. 

HAR. Valere! 

JAC. Yes. 

HAR. He ! who seemed so faithful to me? 

JAC. Himself. I believe that he is the one who robbed 


HAR. And upon what do you base your belief? 

JAC. Upon what ? 

HAR. Yes. 

JAC. I believe it ... because I believe it. 

MAG. But it is necessary to mention the evidence which 
you have. 

HAR. Have you seen him hang about the spot where I 
had put my money ? 

JAC. Yes, indeed. Where was your money ? 

HAR. In the garden. 

JAC. That is just where I have seen him hanging about, 
in the garden. And what was this money in ? 

HAR. In a cash-box. 

JAC. The very thing. I have seen him with a cash- 

HAR. And this cash-box, how is it made ? I shall soon 
see if it be mine. 

JAC. How is it made ? 

HAR. Yes. 

JAC. It is made . . . it is made like a cash-box. 

MAG. Of course. But just describe it a little, that I 
may see. 

JAC. It is a large cash-box. 

HAR. The one that has been stolen from me is a small 

JAC. Eh ! Yes, it is small, if you take it in that way ; 
but I call it large on account of its contents. 

MAG. And what colour is it ? 

JAC. What colour? 

MAG. Yes. 

JAC. It is of a colour . . . of a certain colour. Could 
you not help me to say? 

HAR. Ah! 

JAC. Is it not red? 

HAR. No, grey. 

JAC. Yes, that is it, greyish-red ; that is what I meant. 

HAR. There is no longer any doubt ; it is the one 
assuredly. Write down, Sir, write down his deposition. 
Heavens ! whom is one to trust henceforth ! One must 
no longer swear to anything ; and I verily believe, after 
this, that I am the man to rob myself. 

72 THE MISER. [ACT v. 

JAC. (To Harpagon). He is just coming back, Sir. Do 
not tell him, at least, that it is I who have revealed all 


HAR. Come near, and confess to the blackest deed, the 
most horrible crime that ever was committed. 

VAL. What do you wish, Sir ? 

HAR. How, wretch ! you do not blush for your crime. 

VAL. Of what crime are you talking ? 

HAR. Of what crime am I talking, infamous monster ! 
as if you did not know what I mean ! It is in vain that 
you attempt to disguise it ; the thing has been discovered, 
and I have just learned all. How could you thus abuse 
my kindness, and introduce yourself into my house ex- 
pressly to betray me, to play me a trick of that sort ? 

VAL. Since everything has been revealed to you, Sir, I 
will not prevaricate, and deny the matter to you. 

JAC. (Aside). Oh ! Oh ! could I unconsciously have 
guessed aright ! 

VAL. It was my intention to speak to you about it, and 
I wished to wait for a favourable opportunity ; but, since 
matters are so, I implore you not to be angry, and to be 
willing to listen to my motives. 

HAR. And what pretty motives can you advance, infa- 
mous thief? 

VAL. Ah ! Sir, I have not deserved these names. It is 
true that I have committed an offence against you ; but 
after all, the fault is pardonable. 

HAR. How ! pardonable ? A trap, a murder like that. 

VAL. For pity's sake, do not get angry. When you 
have heard me, you will see that the harm is not so great 
as you make it. 

HAR. The harm is not so great as I make it ! What ! 
my blood, my very heart, 53 hang-dog ! 

VAL. Your blood, Sir, has not fallen into bad hands. 
I am of a rank not to do it any injury ; and there is 
nothing in all this but what I can easily repair. 

M The original has entrailles, bowels. 


HAR. That is what I intend, and that you should re- 
store to me what you have robbed me of. 

VAL. Your honour shall be amply satisfied, Sir. 

HAR. There is no question of honour in it. But tell 
me, who has driven you to such a deed ? 

VAL. Alas ! need you ask me ? 

HAR. Yes, indeed, I do ask you. 

VAL. A god who carries his excuse for all he makes 
people do. Love. 

HAR. Love? 

VAL. Yes. 

HAR. A pretty love, a pretty love, upon my word ! the 
love for my gold pieces ! 

VAL. No, Sir, it is not your wealth that has tempted 
me ; it is not that which has dazzled me ; and I protest 
that I have not the slightest design upon your property, 
provided you leave me that which I have got. 

HAR. No, by all the devils I shall not leave it to you. 
But see what insolence to wish to keep that of which he 
has robbed me ! 

VAL. Do you call that robbery ? 

HAR. If I call it a robbery ? a treasure like that ! 

VAL. It is a treasure, that is true, and the most precious 
which you have got, no doubt ; but it would not be losing 
it to leave it to me. I ask you for it on my knees, this 
treasure full of charms ? and to do right, you should grant 
it to me. 

HAR. I shall do nothing of the kind. What does it all 

VAL. We have pledged our faith to each other, and 
have sworn never to part. 

HAR. The oath is admirable, and the promise rather 

VAL. Yes, we have bound ourselves to be all in all to 
each other for ever. 

HAR. I shall hinder you from it, I assure you. 

VAL. Nothing but death shall separate us. 

HAR. It is being devilishly enamoured of my money. 

VAL. I have told you already, Sir, that interest did not 
urge me to do what I have done. My heart did not act 
from the motives which you imagine ; a nobler one in- 
spired me with this resolution. 


HAR. You shall see that it is from Christian charity 
that he covets my property ! But I shall look to that; 
and the law will give me satisfaction for all this, you bare- 
faced rogue. 

VAL. You shall act as you like, and I am ready to bear 
all the violence you please ; but I implore you to believe, 
at least, that if harm has been done, I only am to be 
blamed, and that in all this, your daughter is in nowise 

HAR. Indeed, I believe you ! it would be very strange 
if my daughter had had a part in this crime. But I will 
have my property back again, and I will have you confess 
where you have carried it away to. 

VAL. I ? I have not carried it away at all. It is still 
in your house. 

HAR. (Aside). O ! my beloved cash-box ! (Aloud}. 
Then it has not gone out of my house? 

VAL. No, sir. 

HAR. Just tell me that you have not made free with it ? 

VAL. I make free with it ! Ah ! you wrong us both ; 
and it is with a wholly pure and respectable ardour that 
I burn. 

HAR. (Aside). Burn for my cash-box ! 

VAL. I would sooner die than show her any offensive 
thought : she is too prudent and honourable for that. 

HAR. (Aside). My cash-box too honourable ! 

VAL. All my wishes are confined to enjoy the sight of 
her ; and nothing criminal has profaned the passion with 
which her beautiful eyes have inspired me. 

HAR. (Aside). The beautiful eyes of my cash-box ! He 
speaks of her as a lover speaks of his mistress. 5 * 

VAL. Mistress Claude, Sir, knows the truth of this 
affair ; and she can testify to it. 

HAR. What ! my servant is an accomplice in the 
matter ? 

M This scene must necessarily lose much of its comic effect in transla- 
tion, for the obvious reason that in French the difference between cassette 
an&Jille, "cash-box " and "daughter," is not so palpable to the ear, the 
feminine adjective and pronoun being used for both ; while in English 
such is not the case, the one taking "it" as its pronoun, and the otheX 


VAL. Yes, Sir ; she was a witness to our engagement ; 
and it is after having known the honourable intent of my 
passion, that she has assisted me in persuading your 
daughter to plight her troth, and receive mine. 

HAR. (Aside). He? Does the fear of justice make him 
rave ? ( To Valere). What means all this gibberish about 
my daughter ? 

VAL. I say, Sir, that I have had all the trouble in the 
world to bring her modesty to consent to what my love 
wished for. 

HAR. The modesty of whom ? 

VAL. Of your daughter ; and it is only yesterday that 
she could make up her mind to sign a mutual promise of 

HAR. My daughter has signed you a promise of mar- 
riage ? 

VAL. Yes, Sir, as I have signed her one. 

HAR. O, Heaven! another disgrace I 66 

JAC. (To the Magistrate}. Write, Sir, write. 

HAR. More harm ! additional despair ! M ( To the Magis- 
trate). Come, Sir, do the duty of your office; and draw 
up for him his indictment as a felon and a suborner. 

JAC. As a felon and a suborner. 

VAL. These are names that do not belong to me ; and 
when people shall know who I am. . . . 


HAR. Ah ! graceless child ! daughter unworthy of a 
father like me ! it is thus that you carry out the lessons 
which I have given you ? You allow yourself to become 
smitten with an infamous thief; and you pledge him your 
troth without my consent ! But you shall both find out 
your mistake. (To Elise). Four strong walls will answer 
for your conduct ; (to Valere), and a good gibbet will 
give me satisfaction for your audacity. 

55 In the original rengregement de mal. Rengregement is the compara- 
tive of the old French \i<yc&greigneur, great. 

56 In Plautus, Aulularia (Act v.. Scene 3), Euclio, on hearing the truth 
from Lyconides, exclaims also, "I'm undone entirely; so very many mis- 
fortunes unite themselves for my undoing.' 1 


VAL. It will not be your passion that shall judge this 
matter ; and I shall get at least a hearing before being 

HAR. I have made a mistake in saying a gibbet ; and 
you shall be broken alive on the wheel. 

EL. {At Harpagori 's knees). Ah ! father, show a little 
more humanity in your feelings, I beseech you, and do not 
push matters with the utmost violence of paternal power. 
Do not give way to the first movements of your passion, 
and give yourself time to consider what you do. Take the 
trouble to know better him whom you believe to have 
offended you. He is quite different from what he appears 
in your eyes ; and you will find it less strange that I have 
given myself to him, when you know that, had it not been 
for him, you would long ago have had me no longer. Yes, 
father, it is he who saved me from the great peril I was in 
when I fell into the water, and to whom you owe the life 
of that very daughter, who . . . 

HAR. All that is nothing ; and it would have been much 
better for me, had he allowed you to be drowned, than to 
do what he has done. 

EL. I implore you, father, by your paternal love, to . . 

HAR. No, no; I will hear nothing, and justice must 
have its course. 

JAC. You shall pay me my cudgel-blows. 

FRO. (Aside). What strange confusion is this ! 


AN. What is the matter, Mr. Harpagon? I find you 
quite upset. 

HAR. Ah ! Mr. Anselme, I am the most unfortunate of 
men ; and there is a great deal of trouble and disorder 
connected with the contract which you have come to sign ! 
I am attacked in my property, I am attacked in my honour ; 
and behold a wretch, a scoundrel who has violated the 
most sacred rights ; who has introduced himself into my 
house as a servant to rob me of my money, and to tamper 
with my daughter. 

VAL. Who is thinking of your money, of which you 
make such a cock-and-bull story? 


HAR. Yes, they have given each other a promise of mar- 
riage. This insult concerns you, Mr. Anselme, and it is 
you who ought to take up the cudgels against him, and em- 
ploy all the rigours of the law, to revenge yourself upon 
him for his insolence. 

ANS. It is not my intention to make any one marry me 
by compulsion, and to lay claim to a heart which has 
already pledged itself; but, as far as your interests are 
concerned, I am ready to espouse them, as if they were my 

HAR. This gentleman here is an honest magistrate who 
will forget nothing, from what he has said to me, of the 
duties of his office. (To the Magistrate). Charge him, 
Sir, in the right fashion, and make matters very criminal. 

VAL. I do not see what crime can be made out against 
me of the affection which I entertain for your daughter, 
and to what punishment you think I can be condemned 
on account of our engagement when it shall be known who 
I am . . . 

HAR. I do not care about any of these stories; in our 
days the world is full of these assumed noblemen; of these 
impostors, who take advantage of their obscurity, and with 
the greatest insolence adopt the first illustrious name which 
comes into their head. 

VAL. I would have you to know that I am too upright 
to deck myself with anything that does not belong to me ; 
and that all Naples can bear testimony to my birth. 

ANS. Gently! take care what you are going to say. 
You run a greater risk in this than you think ; you are 
speaking before a man to whom all Naples is known, and 
who can easily see through her story. 

VAL. (Proudly putting his hat on). I am not the man 
to fear anything ; and if you know Naples, you know who 
was Don Thomas d'Alburci. 

ANS. No doubt, I know; and few people have known 
him better than I. 

HAR. I do not care for Don Thomas nor Don Martin. 
(Seeing two candles burning, blows one out. " 

67 There is a traditionary stage play going on during this scene. Whilst 
this conversation is taking place, Harpagon puts out one of the candles 
which are on the table ; Jacques lights it again ; Harpagon blows it out 


ANS. Pray let him speak ; we shall hear what he means 
to say about him. 

VAL. I mean to say that to him I owe my birth. 

ANS. To him? 

VAL. Yes. 

ANS. Come ; you are jesting. Invent some other story 
which may succeed better, and do not attempt to save 
yourself by this imposture. 

VAL. Learn to speak differently. It is not an impos- 
ture, and I advance nothing but what can be easily proved 
by me. 

ANS. What ! you dare call yourself the son of Don 
Thomas d'Alburci? 

VAL. Yes, I dare; and I am prepared to maintain this 
truth against any one. 

ANS. The audacity is marvellous ! Learn to your con- 
fusion, that it is sixteen years at least since the man you 
speak of perished at sea with his wife and children, while 
endeavouring to save their lives from the cruel persecu- 
tions which accompanied the troubles at Naples, and 
which caused the exile of several noble families. M 

VAL. Yes; but learn, to your confusion, you, that his 
son, seven years of age, with a servant, was saved from the 
wreck by a Spanish vessel, and that this son, who was 
saved, is the person who spoke to you. Learn that the 
captain of that ship, pitying my misfortune, conceived a 
friendship for me ; that he had me educated as his own 
son, and that I was trained to the profession of arms ever 
since I was old enough ; that I have learned lately that my 
father is not dead, as I always believed; that passing 
through here to go in search of him, an accident, arranged 
by Heaven, brought me into contact with the charming 
Elise ; that the sight of her made me a slave to her beauty, 
and that the violence of my passion and the harshness of 

anew, and holds it in his hand, but whilst he is listening, the servant re- 
kindles it. The miser sees the lighted candle, while unfolding his arms ; 
he extinguishes it anew, and puts it in his breeches' pocket, where Jacques 
relights it again, and where it is afresh discovered by Harpagon. Some 
commentators of Moliere's hare blamed this by-play. 

88 It is possible that Moliere meant to speak here of Masaniello's re- 
bellion at Naples, in the years 1647 and 1648, and which agrees, in the 
main, with the age of the different personages. 


her father made me resolve to introduce myself into his 
house, and to send some one else in quest of my parents. 

ANS. But what other proofs than your words can 
guarantee to us that this is not a fable based upon truth? 

VAL. The Spanish captain ; a ruby seal which belonged 
to my father ; an agate bracelet which my mother had on 
her arm ; old Pedro, the servant, who was saved with me 
from the wreck. 

MAR. Alas ! to your words I can answer, I, that you 
are not imposing, and all that you say shows me clearly 
that you are my brother 

VAL. You, my sister ! 

MAR. Yes. My heart was touched the moment you 
opened your lips ; and our mother, who will be overjoyed 
at seeing you, has thousands of times related to me the 
misfortunes of our family. Heaven also permitted us not 
to perish in this dreadful shipwreck ; but our lives were 
saved only at the cost of our liberty ; and they were pi- 
rates that picked us up, my mother and me, on a plank of 
our vessel. After ten years of slavery, a happy accident 
regained for us our freedom ; and we returned to Naples, 
where we found all our property sold, without being able to 
trace any news of our father. We then travelled to Genoa, 
whither my mother went to pick up some miserable re- 
mains of an inheritance of which she had been despoiled ; 
and thence, flying from the barbarous injustice of her 
relatives, she came hither, where she has almost barely 
been able to drag on her life. 

ANS. Oh Heaven ! how great is the evidence of thy 
power ! and how well showest thou that it belongs only to 
thee to perform miracles ! Embrace me, my children, and 
share your joys with those of your father. 

VAL. You are our father ? 

MAR. It is you whom my mother has so much bewailed. 

ANS. Yes, my daughter, yes, my son ; I am Don 
Thomas d'Alburci, whom Heaven saved from the waves, 
with all the money which he carried with him, and who, 
believing you all dead during more than sixteen years, 
prepared, after long journeying, to seek, in the union with 
a gentle and discreet girl, the consolation of a new fami- 
ly. The little safety which I found for my life in Naples, 

80 THE MISER. [ACT v. 

has made me for ever abandon the idea of returning ; and 
having found means to sell all that I possessed there, I be- 
came used to this place, where, under the name of Ansel- 
me, I wished to get rid of the sorrows of this other name, 
which caused me so many misfortunes. 

HAR. (To Anselme). Is this your son? 

ANS. Yes. 

HAR. Then I hold you responsible for paying me ten 
thousand crowns of which he has robbed me. 

ANS. He has robbed you ! 

HAR. Himself. 

VAL. Who tells you this ? 

HAR. Master Jacques. 

VAL. ( To Master Jacques). Is it you who say this ? 

JACQ. You see that I say nothing. 

HAR. Yes. There is the Magistrate who has received 
his deposition. 

VAL. Can you believe me capable of so base an action ? 

HAR. Capable or not capable, I want my money back 


CLE. Do not worry yourself any longer, father, and 
accuse no one. I have discovered tidings of your affair ; 
and I have come to tell you, that if you will make up your 
mind to let me marry Mariane, your money shall be re- 
turned to you. 

HAR. Where is it ? 

CLE. Do not grieve about that. It is in a spot for 
which I answer ; and everything depends upon me. It is 
for you to say what you resolve ; and you can choose, 
either to give me Mariane, or to lose your cash-box. 

HAR. Has nothing been taken out? 

CLE. Nothing at all. Now make up your mind whether 
you will subscribe to this marriage, and join your consent 
to that of her mother, who leaves her free to choose be- 
tween us two. 

MAR. (To Cleante}. But you do not know that this 
consent is no longer sufficient ; and that Heaven restores 


to irre not only a brother {pointing to Valere) but also (point- 
ing to Anselme) a father, from whom you must obtain me. 

ANS. Heaven has not restored me to you, my children, 
to go contrary to your desires. Mr. Harpagon, you are 
well aware that the choice of a young girl will fall upon 
the son rather than upon the father ; come, do not oblige 
people to say what it is not necessary to hear; and con- 
sent, as well as I do, to this double match. 

HAR. To be well advised, I must see my cash-box. 

CLE. You shall see it safe and sound. 

HAR. I have no money to give my children in marriage. 

ANS. Well! I have some for them; do not let that 
trouble you. 

HAR. Will you undertake to defray all the expenses of 
these two weddings? 

ANS. Yes, I undertake it. Are you satisfied? 

HAR. Yes, provided that you will order me a suit for 
the nuptials. 

ANS. That is agreed. Let us go and rejoice in the 
happiness which this day brings us. 

MAG. Hullo ! gentlemen, hullo ! Gently, if you please. 
Who is to pay for my writing? M 

HAR. We have nothing to do with your writings. 

MAG. Yes ! but I do not pretend to have written tor 

HAR. {Pointing to Master Jacques). For your payment, 
there is a marl of whom I make you a present; and you 
may hang him. 

JAC. Alas ! how must one act ? I get cudgel-blows for 
speaking the truth ; and they wish to hang me for telling 
a lie! 

ANS. Mr. Harpagon, you must forgive him this im- 

HAR. Will you pay the magistrate, then ? 

ANS. Be it so. Come let us go quickly to share our joy 
with your mother. 

HAR. And I, to see my dear cash-box. 

89 It appears that in MoliSre's time the places of commissaire were 
bought ; hence these magistrates were very liable to be bribed. Compare 
what Sganarelle says to one of them in TTu School for Husbands (Vol. I., 
Act >iii., Scene 5). 







OCTOBER 6xH, 1669. 


THE whole of the first part of the year 1669 was occupied with Tartuffe. 
Only in the month of October of the same year, Monsieur de Pourceaug- 
nac, a new production of Moliere, which was ordered for the king, and 
played on the 6th of that month at Chambord, saw the light. Moliere 
and his troupe received 6000 livres for their acting of this play, which was 
represented at the theatre of the Palais-Royal, on the i$th of November 
of the same year, and was performed twenty times in succession. It was 
anew acted before the Court on the 6th of March of the following year. 
The idea of putting the hero of the comedy in the hands of a physician, 
to be cured in spite of himself, and making the first believe that he is go- 
ing to be " treated as well as possible," whilst the latter thinks that he has 
to deal with a patient, is to be found in many of the early fabliaux ; only 
the scene takes place between a priest, who imagines that he has to exor- 
cise a man, whilst this one is a creditor who flatters himself that he is go- 
ing to be paid. Later, a doctor or surgeon was put in the place of the 
priest. In the Histoire generate des Larrons, published at Lyons hi 1639, 
a tale is told how a thief brought a draper's assistant to a certain surgeon. 
He had warned the latter beforehand that he should bring him a patient, 
and ran off with a piece of cloth which he had ordered in the name of the 
doctor, who, as well as his supposed patient, were endeavouring to explain 
the mistake under which each laboured. This trick had already been 
represented on the Theatre du Marais, in 1661, by a certain Chevalier, in 
a farce in verse, The Desolation of the Rogues about the Prohibition of 
Wearing Arm!, or the Patients who are not ill. In this farce, Guillot's 
master gives him a valuable ring, to borrow money upon. The servant 
entrusts the ring to a rascal, who gives it to one of his accomplices, dressed 
as a physician, the latter pretends to have been paid to cure Guillot, who 
refuses to place himself under his hands, and who is pursued by a great 
many apothecaries, armed with syringes. 

MolieVe received the first hint of the scene in which Eraste persuades 
M. de Pourceaugnac that they are old friends, from a tale by Scarron, 
published in 1652, and called Not to Believe what One Sees. The scenes 
in which Pourceaugnac is pestered by N^rine, Lucette, and their children, 
and the flight of the Limousin gentleman, dressed as a woman are said to 
be found in an Italian farce, The Disgraces of Harlequin ; but the date 
when this farce was first played is not known with any certainty. 

It has been stated that Moliere, in order to revenge himself upon a gen- 
tleman of Limoges who had insulted him, brought his caricature upon the 


stage as M. de Pourceaugnac. But he must have met many such charac- 
ters during his peregrinations, as a strolling player, in the provinces. M. 
de Pourceaugnac is, like M. de Sotenville, in George Dandin, a provin- 
cial gentleman ; but the first is something of a lawyer, and is more easily 
gulled, though brimful of suspicion and antiquated prejudices. He is 
amusing by the very self-sufficiency which he displays in all his mishaps. 
His extravagant and farcical adventures divert the spectator, chiefly on 
account of the natural language of the different characters, and the racy 
humour and broad fun which pervade the whole comedy. 

Moliere attacks the doctors in this play ; but he almost faithfully repre- 
sents them and their language. The consultation of the two physicians is 
not exaggerated ; they reason well, draw consequences, and explain the 
cause of the disease correctly ; their remedies are not badly applied, but 
the misfortune is that Pourceaugnac is not mad, as they believe him to be. 
Hence all their arguments, cleverness, and pedantry only bring more to 
the light their egregious blunder. 

Tradition asserts that Lulli once played the part of De Pourceaugnac. 
He was in disgrace with the king ; and, as this disgrace had lasted for 
some time, he made an arrangement with Moliere to assist him. When 
the curtain rose, it was announced that Moliere had suddenly become in- 
disposed ; Lulli proposed to play the chief character, and his proposal 
was accepted by Louis XIV. Lulli played with much spirit and vivacity, 
but did not see the king unbend. When the scene with the apothecaries 
came on, Lulli, ran, skipped, leapt, frisked about, but all in vain, the 
Grand Monarque did not even smile. At last the wily Italian hit upon 
an inspiration. Pursued by his persecutors, he took a tremendous leap, 
and jumped right in the middle of a spinnet which stood in the orchestra, 
and which was smashed in a thousand pieces. He ran the risk of break- 
ing his legs, but he was satisfied ; he had seen the king laugh and ap- 
plaud ; he had heard the Court imitate the monarch ; and he knew when 
he reappeared on the stage through the prompter's box, that he was anew 
re-established in the king's favour. 

In the sixth volume of the translation of '' Select Comedies by M. de 
Moli&re, London, 1732," this piece under the title of Squire Lubberly, is 
dedicated to the Right Honourable the Lady Mary Wortley Montague in 
the following words : 


If this TRANSLATION can be so happy as to please Your LADYSHIP, it is almost 
certain of the World's Applause : For Your fine Taste and distinguishing judgment 
are known so universally, that few or none (as fond as people are of cavilling) will 
dare find Fault with what is honoured by Your LADYSHIP'S Approbation. But 
Your LADYSHIP'S high Character would only seem a Proof of my Presumption in 
this Address, were it not remarkable that, with the Happiest Genius in the World, 
You have the Best Good-Nature, and can pardon the Faults of others with the 
same Facility that You write fine Things Your self. 

It is no easy Task to preserve the Spirit and Humour of MOLIERE in a TRANS- 
LATION that is almost Literal : This, however, has been my attempt, and if, in 
the general, I have succeeded, Your LADYSHIP, I assure myself, will excuse some 
few Mistakes. 

I shall be no farther troublesome than to subscribe myself with the greatest re- 
spect that's possible, MADAM, Your Ladyship's most Obedient, and most 
humble Servant, 


Several English dramatists have imjt3ed either the whole- or some of 
the scenes of Moliere's plar 


We first have to deal with Ravenscroft, (See Introductory Notice to 
The Love-Tiff, Vol. I., page 76), who in three of his plays, has made 
use of M. de Pourceaugnac. In his Mamamouchi, or the Citizen turn'd 
Gentleman, acted in 1671, a play chiefly taken from Le Bourgeois Gentil- 
homme, Sir Simon Softhead is Pourceaugnac. In the Careless Lovers, a 
comedy acted at the Duke's Theatre, 1673, the scene in the fourth act, in 
which Mrs. Breedwell and Clapham bring in their children and pretend 
that they are the wives of De Boastado, is taken from the seventh and 
eighth scenes of the last act of the French comedy. In his play, Ravens- 
croft, in the Epistle, attacks Dryden, and says that the reason that they 
are continually falling out, is " that two of a trade can never agree," 
whilst, in the Prologue, he sneers at Almanzor and Love in a Nunnery. 
In his Canterbury Guests, or a. Bargain Broken, played at the Theatre 
Royal in 1694, Ravenscroft has reproduced the scene of the women and 
the children which he had introduced before in The Careless Lovers. 

Crowne, in his Country Wit (See Introductory Notice to The Sicilian, 
Vol. II., page 336), has sketched a character, Sir Mannerly Shallow, which 
has evidently been inspired by M. de Pourceaugnac, although not literally 
followed. The English baronet exclaims 

" Well to Cumberland commend me for gentility, 
But to London for good breeding and civility ;" 

and is finally married to a porter's daughter. Ramble and Merry at times 
remind me of Eraste and Sbrigani, in Moliere's comedy. 

M. de Pourceaugnac, Squire Trelooby, was said to be translated by Van- 
brugh, Congreve, and Walsh, with a prologue by Dr. Garth. It was first 
acted at the Theatre, Lincoln's-Inn-Fields, March 2oth, 1704. It was also 
acted Jan. 3d, 1734, under the title of The Cornish Squire. 

Charles Shadwell brought out at Dublin in 1720, a farce called The 
Plotting Lovers ; or the Dismal Squire, which is a free translation and 
condensation of M. de Pourceaugnac into one act. 

Miller's Mother-in- Law ; or, the Doctor the Disease, a. comedy in five 
acts, in prose, was performed in the Haymarket Theatre on the I2th of 
February, 1734, and met with great success. The scene of it is laid in 
London, and the plot is compounded of two comedies of Moliere, M. de 
Pourceaugnac and The Hypochondriac. The author, who was then in 
orders, dedicated his play to the Countess of Hertford, and stated in his 
dedication that his " Comedy . . . has not in it one indecent expres- 
sion, or one immoral thought," and also " that Moliere is properly the 
author of this play." He repeats these statements more emphatically in 
the Prologue, and harps on the same string in the Epilogue, where we 
also find a description of the dress of the ladies and gentlemen of those 
times. Mrs. Heron as Primrose (Toinette) states of the great dames, 


" In round-ear'd Coif, white Apron, and stuff gown, 
Your Lady Betties trip about the town ; 
Whilst nice Sir Fopling, and his Brother Beaux, 
Transported, step into their Footmen's Clothes ; 
Proud of the Oaken Club, and tuck'd up Hair }> 
They then, first, really are what they appear.' 

M de Pourceaugnac is called in Miller's play, " Looby Headpiece, 
nephew to Dr Mummy ; " Beaumont, the lover, is a mixture of Cl^ante, 
from The Hypochondriac, and of Sbrigani, from M. de Pourceaugnac 
which latter character is also partly filled up by Mrs. Primrose (Toi- 


nette). The scene where M. de Pourceaugnac is in woman's clothes and 
the one between the two doctors and the supposed lunatic are the same 
in both plays ; but Dr. Mummy, one of the consulting physicians, discov- 
ers that Looby is his nephew, who afterwards takes the character of 
Thomas Diafoirus, from The Hypochondriac. The greater part of The 
Mother-in- Law is taken from the latter comedy ; Argan is Sir Credulous 
Hippish ; Beralde becomes Heartwell ; the elder Diafoirus, Dr. Mummy ; 
M. Fleurant, Mr. Galleypot; M. Bonnefoi, Mr. Cranny, whilst Belize; 
the second wife of Argan in the French comedy, is, in the English one, 
called Lady Hippish ; the daughter Angelique becomes Belina, and Loui- 
son, the younger sister, is changed into Agnes. 

Thomas Sheridan, the actor, wrote Captain O' Blunder ; or the Brave 
Irishman, a farce in one act, performed at the Theatre, Goodman's Field's 
on the 3ist of January, 1746, and which is nearly all borrowed from M. 
de Pourceaugnac, who for the nonce is turned into an Irishman. The 
consultation with the doctors is there ; the Captain kills a Frenchman in 
a duel, and is obliged to fly, and Sbrigani is represented by Sconce. 
Eraste is called Cheatwell, and he marries Betty, the maid ; whilst O' Blun- 
der marries Lucy, the young lady. Nerine and Lucette are wanting in 
this farce. 

Mrs. Parsons wrote a comedy in two acts, The Intrigues of a Morning, 
played at the Theatre, Covent Garden, on the i8th of April, 1792. It is 
merely a poor abbreviated version of M. de Pourceaugnac. 




GNAC. 1 


ERASTE, Julia's lover. 
SBRIGANI, a Neapolitan ad- 

FIRST Swiss. 

SECOND Swiss. 



JULIA, Oronte 's daughter. 

NERINE, an intriguing wo- 
man, supposed to be from 

LUCETTE, supposed to be from 








Two DANCING Swiss. 





Two SERGEANTS, dancing. 




A PANTALOON, singing. 




1 This part was created by Moliere, who wore '' breeches of red damask, 
ornamented with lace, a blue velvet jacket, ornamented with imitation 
gold ; a belt with fringes, green garters, a grey hat with a green feather, a 
scarf of green taffeta, a pair of gloves, a skirt of green taffeta, adorned with 
lace, and a cloak of black taffeta. 1 ' The name Pourceaugnac appears to 
be formed from pourceau, a pig, with the Gascon ending ac. A drama- 
tist, Hauteroche, introduced in his Nobles de Province (1677) a character, 
Cochonzac. The fun of calling the Limousin gentlemen "pigs" appears 
to be old, for when a certain Descars boasted that he had four thousand 
noblemen of that province who would oppose the Huguenots, Jeanne 
d'Albert, the mother of Henri IV., said : "They are called noblemen be- 
cause they are dressed in soie ;'' the latter word meaning "silk" and 
''bristles." The Limousins were sometimes called mcichc-raves , turnip 
eaters, and Rabelais also makes fun of a Limousin student. 




MUSICIANS (several others performing on instruments), 

ERAS. ( To the Musicians and Dancers?) Carry out the 
orders which I have given you for the serenade. As for 
myself, I shall retire, and I do not wish to be seen here. 

SICIANS (several others playing instruments), A TROOP OF 

(This serenade is composed of singing, dancing, and 
playing. The words sung refer to the position of 
Eraste in regard to Julia, and express the feelings of 
the two lovers, who are crossed in love by their 

The Female Musician. 

Now scatter, O charming night, on every eye, 
The gentle violence of thy poppies ; 
Leave none in these enchanting spots awake 
But those hearts which Cupid's power sways. 
Thy shades and thy silence, 



More fair than brightest day. 
Offer sweet moments in which to sigh with love. 

First Musician. 

How sweet a thing it is 

To sigh with love, 
When nothing our affection stays ! 
To amiable inclinations our hearts incline, 
But there are tyrants to whom we owe life. 

How sweet a thing it is 

To sigh with love, 

When nothing our affection stays ! 

Second Musician. 

Whate'er to our affections thy' 11 oppose. 
Against true love it naught avails: 
We must but love each other well, 
All obstacles to overcome. 

The Three together. 

Let us, therefore, love each other with eternal ardour : 
The parent's harshness, cruel constraints, 
Absence, labour, adverse fortune, 
Do but increase a faithful friendship. 
Let us, therefore, love each other with eternal ardour : 
When two fond hearts .love each other well. 
All the rest is nothing. 

First Entry of the Ballet. 

(Dance of the two Dancing Masters.) 

Second Entry of the Ballet. 

(Dance of the two Pages). 

Third Entry of the Ballet. 

(Four spectators, who quarreled during the Page's dance, 
now dance likewise, fighting all the while, sword in 

Fourth Entry of the Ballet. 

(Two Swiss separate the four combatants, and after having 
reconciled them, dance with them.) 



JUL. Good Heavens ! Eraste, let us take care not to be 
caught. I tremble lest we should be seen together ; and 
everything would be lost after I had been forbidden to 
do so. 

ERAS. I am looking out on all sides, and can see 

JUL. {To Nerine}. Do you watch also, Nerine; and 
take care that no one comes. 

NER. {Going to the back of the stage}. Depend upon 
me, and tell fearlessly what you have to say to each other. 

JUL. Have you bethought yourself of something favour- 
able in our affair? and think you, Eraste, to be able to 
prevent this vexatious marriage upon which my father has 
set his mind? 

ERAS. Let us at least try our best; and we have already 
prepared a good many batteries to overturn this ridicu- 
lous design. ; 

NER. (Rushing on to Julia). As I live, there is your 

JUL. Quick, let us separate ! 

NER. No, no, no; do not stir; I was mistaken. 

JUL. Good Heavens! Nerine, how silly of you to 
frighten us so! 

ERAS. Yes, charming Julia, we have in readiness a 
quantity of engines for this purpose ; and now that you 
have given me permission, we shall not scruple to use 
them all. Do not ask us all the contrivances which we 
shall bring into play ; you will be amused by them ; and 
it is better to leave you the pleasure of surprise, as they 
do in comedies, and to warn you of nothing which we 
mean to show you. Let it be sufficient to tell you that 
we have various stratagems in hand to be produced at the 
fit moment, and that the ingenious Nerine and the skilful 
Sbrigani have undertaken the affair. 

NER. Assuredly. Is your father jesting to wish to 
bother you with his lawyer from Limoges, Monsieur de 
Pourceaugnac, whom he has never seen in his life, and 
who is coming by coach to take you away before our very 
face? Are three or four thousand crowns more, and for 


which he has only your uncle's word, to make him reject 
a lover whom you care for? and is a girl like you fit for a 
native of Limoges ? If he wishes to get married why does 
he not take a lady born at Limoges for a wife, instead of 
troubling decent Christians ? The name alone of Monsieur 
de Pourceaugnac has put me in a frightful passion. 
I am in a rage about Monsieur de Pourceaugnac If it 
were nothing but his name, this Monsieur de Pourceaug- 
nac, I would do everything to succeed 2 in breaking off 
this marriage, rather than that you should be Madam de 
Pourceaugnac. Pourceaugnac ! is it bearable ? No, 
Pourceaugnac is something which I cannot tolerate; and 
we shall play him so many tricks, we shall practice so 
many jokes upon jokes upon him, that we shall soon send 
Monsieur de Pourceaugnac back to Limoges again. 

ERAS. Here comes our artful Neapolitan, who will give 
us some news. 


SBR. Your man is coming, Sir : I have seen him three 
kagues from here where the coach stopped, and where he 
came down for breakfast in the kitchen. I have studied 
him for full half an hour, and I know him already by heart. 
As for his figure, I will not speak of it : you will see for 
yourself how nature has designed him, and if his dress 
agrees with it. But as for his wit, I tell you, beforehand, 
that it is one of the dullest going, that we will find in 
him just the very material for what we wish, and that he 
is the very man to fall into every trap which you may set 
for him. 

ERAS. Are you telling us the truth ? 

SBR. Yes, if I know the world. 

NER. Madam, this is a first-rate personage. 8 Your affair 
could not be in better hands, and he is the hero of our age 

1 The original has j'y brulerai mes livres, " I shall burn my books," a 
saying borrowed from the old alchymists, who, after having tried every- 
thing, burn their books, because they are sure never to succeed ; or burn 
them, because they have nothing more to heat the furnace with. 

8 In Plautus' Asinaria; or, the Ass-dealer (Act iii., Scene 2), Libanus 
and Leonida, the servants of Demenaetus, an aged Athenian, also extol 
each other's exploits. 


for the kind of exploits in question ; a man who, twenty 
times in his life, has generously braved the galleys to serve 
his friends ; who, at the risk of his arms and shoulders, 
knows to put an end nobly to the most difficult adven- 
tures, and who, such as you see him, has been exiled from 
his country for I not know how many honourable actions, 
which he has generously undertaken. 

SBR. I am confused by the praises with which you 
honour me ; and I could, with greater justice, give you 
some upon the marvels of your own life, and principally 
on the glory which you obtained when, with great honesty, 
you cheated at play, to the tune of twelve thousand crowns, 
that foreign young nobleman who was brought to your 
house ; when you gallantly made that false contract, which 
ruined a whole family ; when, with so much grandeur of 
soul, you denied the deposit which had been entrusted to 
you ; and when we saw you so generously give your evi- 
dence which caused two people to be hanged who had not 
deserved it. 

NER. These are trifles not worth speaking of; and your 
praises make me blush.* 

SBR. I will spare your modesty ; let us drop this ; and, 
to make a beginning, let us go quickly and join our pro- 
vincials, while you, on your side, shall hold the other ac- 
tors of the comedy in readiness in case of need. 

ERAS. At least, Madam, remember your part ; and, the 
better to hide our game, pretend, as you have been told, to 
be thoroughly satisfied with your father's plans. 

JUL. If it depends but on this, matters will proceed 

ERAS. But, fair Julia, if [all our contrivances should be 
unsuccessful ? 

JUL. Then I shall declare my true feelings to my 

ERAS. And if. against your feelings, he should hold 
obstinately to his plan? 

JUL. I would threaten him to bury myself in a convent. 

4 Several of Moliere's commentators blame Eraste and Julia for employ- 
ing two such people as Nerine and Sbrigani ; but it is just possible that 
these two worthies may have been joking, whilst complimenting each 
other on their exploits. 


ERAS. But if, nothwithstanding all this, he would force 
you to this marriage ? 

JUL. What do you wish me to say to you ? 

ERAS. What do I wish you to say to me ? 

JUL. Yes. 

ERAS. What one says when one loves truly. 

JUL. But what ? 

ERAS. That nothing will compel you; and that, not- 
withstanding all a father's efforts, you will promise me to 
be mine. 

JUL. Good Heavens ! Eraste, content yourself with what 
I am doing now ; and do not tempt the resolutions of my 
heart upon what may happen in the future ; do not make 
my duty more painful with proposals of annoying rash- 
ness, of which, perhaps, we may not be in need ; and if 
we are to come to it, let me, at least be driven to it by the 
turn of affairs. 

ERAS. Well . . . 

SBR. By my truth ! there is our man ; let us be on our 

NER. Ah ! how he is built ! 


POUR. (Remaining on the side from which he enters, 
speaking to the people, who are following him). Well ! 
what ? What is it ? What is the matter ? The devil take 
the silly town and the silly people in it ! Not to be able 
to move a step without meeting with a lot of boobies who 
stare at you and laugh in your face ! Eh ! gentlemen 
gapers, attend to your own concerns, and allow people to 
pass on without grinning in their faces. May the devil 
take me, if I do not pummel the first whom I shall catch 

SBR. (Speaking to the same people). What is the matter, 
gentlemen? what does this mean? with whom are you 
quarrelling? Are folks thus to make a jest of honest 
strangers who arrive here ? 

POUR. This is a sensible man, at least. 

SBR. What behaviour in yours! and what is there to 
laugh at? 

POUR. Very good. 


SBR. Is there anything ridiculous about this gentleman? 

POUR. Yes. 

SBR. Is he in any way different from other people ? 

POUR. Am I misshapen, or humpbacked ? 

SBR. You should know how to treat people. 

POUR. That is well said. 

SBR. This gentleman's air commands respect. 

POUR. That is true. 

SBR. A person of quality. 

POUR. Yes. A gentleman from Limoges. 

SBR. A person of education. 

PGUR. Who has studied law. 6 

SBR, He does you too much honour by coming to your 

POUR. Undoubtedly. 

SBR. This gentleman is not a person to provoke laughter. 

POUR! Assuredly. 

SBR. And whoever shall laugh will have to deal with 

POUR. (To Sbrigani}. Sir, I am infinitely obliged to 

SBR. I am sorry, Sir, to see a personage like you re- 
ceived in such a manner ; and I ask your pardon for the 

POUR. I am your servant. 

SBR. I saw you this morning, Sir, with the coach, when 
you were breakfasting, and the grace with which you ate 
your bread, immediately made me conceive a friendship 
for you; and, as I know that you have never been in 
these parts, and that you are altogether new to them, I 
am very glad to have met with you, to offer you my ser- 
vices on this arrival, and to assist you in your behaviour 
amongst this people, who have not always the proper con- 
sideration for gentlemen. 

POUR. You are doing me too much kindness. 

SBR. I have already said to you, from the moment I 
saw you, I felt an inclination towards you. 

5 Of course. M. de Pourceaugnac is not satisfied with being a person of 
education, but says that he "has studied law." Afterwards, in the twelfth 
Scene of the second Act, he denies this. 



POUR. I am obliged to you. 

SBR. Your physiognomy pleased me. 

POUR. It is too much honour for me. 

SBR. I perceived something honest in it. 

POUR. I am your servant. 

SBR. Something amiable. 

POUR. Ah ! ah ! 

SBR. Something graceful. 

POUR. Ah ! ah ! 

SBR. Something gentle. 

POUR. Ah ! ah ! 

SBR. Something majestic. 

POUR. Ah ! ah ! 

SBR. Something frank. 

POUR. Ah ! ah ! 

SBR. And something cordial. 

POUR. Ah ! ah ! 

SBR. I assure you that I am entirely yours. 

POUR. I am under great obligations to you. 

SBR. I speak from the bottom of my heart. 

POUR. I believe you. 

SBR. If I had the honour of being known to you, you 
would be aware that I am a man thoroughly sincere. 

POUR. I do not doubt it. 

SBR. An enemy to all roguery. 

POUR. I am convinced of it. 

SBR. And incapable of disguising my sentiments. 

POUR. That is what I think. 

SBR. You are looking at my dress, which is unlike other 
people's ; but I hail from Naples, at your service, and I 
wished somewhat to preserve the fashion of dressing and 
the sincerity of my country. 6 

POUR. That is quite right. As for me, I wished to be 
dressed like a courtier when he is going into the country. 

SBR. Upon my word, it suits you better than any of 
our courtiers. 

POUR. That is what my tailor told me. The dress is 
suitable and rich, and it will attract some notice herd 

6 The dress of Sbrigani is the traditional one of Mascarille and Crispin, 
striped red and white. The Neapolitans had the reputation of being 
neither very sincere nor honest. 


SBR. Undoubtedly. Shall you not go to the Louvre ? 
POUR. I must go to pay my court. 
SBR. The king will be delighted to see you. 
POUR. I think so. 

SBR. Have you fixed upon a lodging ? 
POUR. No ; I was just going to look for one. 
SBR. I shall be delighted to go with you for that pur- 
pose ; I know all these parts well. 


ERAS. Ah ! what is this ? What do I see ? What for- 
tunate meeting ! Monsieur de Pourceaugnac ! How de- 
lighted I am to see you ! How now ! it seems that you 
have a difficulty in recognizing me ! 

POUR. Sir, I am your servant. 

ERAS. Is it possible that five or six years have oblite- 
rated me from your memory, and that you do not recognize 
the best friend of all the Pourceaugnac family ? 

POUR. Pray, pardon me. (Softly, to Sbrigani}. Upon 
my word, I do not know who he is. 

ERAS. There is not a Pourceaugnac at Limoges whom I 
do not know, from the greatest to the least ; I visited 
only them at the time I was there, and I had the honour 
of seeing you nearly every day. 

POUR. It is I who had the honour, Sir. 

ERAS. You do not recollect my face ? 

POUR. Yes, indeed. (To Sbrigant). I do not know 

ERAS. You do not remember that I had the pleasure of 
taking wine with you, I do not know how many times ! 

POUR. Excuse me. (To Sbrigani}. I do not know 
who this is. 

ERAS. What do you call that innkeeper at Limoges who 
gives such good cheer? 

POUR. Petit-Jean? 

ERAS. That is he. We generally went together to him 
to feast. What do you call that place at Limoges where 
people promenade ? 

POUR. The cemetery of the Arenes ? 

ERAS. Exactly. That is where I passed such sweet 


hours in enjoying your pleasant conversation. You do not 
recollect all that ? 

POUR. Excuse me ; I am beginning to remember. (To 
Sbrigani}. May the devil take me if I recollect ! 

SBR. (Softly, to Monsieur de Pourceaugnac). There are 
a hundred things like that which pac3 out of one's head. 

ERAS. But pray embrace me, I beg, and let us renew the 
bonds of our old friendship. 

SBR. (To Monsieur de Pourceaugnac). That is a man 
who loves you well. 

ERAS. Just tell me some news about all the family. 

How is this gentleman your there .... the 

one that is such a nice fellow? 

POUR. My brother the consul ? T 

ERAS. Yes. 

POUR. He could not be better. 

ERAS. Certainly I am delighted to hear it. And the 
one who is always so good-tempered ? There, the gen- 
tleman, your .... 

POUR. My cousin, the assessor? 

ERAS. Precisely. 

POUR. Ever gay and sprightly. 

ERAS. Upon my word this gives me great pleasure. And 
your uncle, the .... 

POUR. I have no uncle. 

ERAS. You had one, though, at that time. 

POUR. No, nothing but an aunt. 

ERAS. That is what I meant, the lady your aunt. How 
is she? 

POUR. She has been dead these six months. 

ERAS. Alas ! poor woman ! she was such a good crea- 

POUR. Then there is my nephew, the canon, who nearly 
died of small-pox. 

ERAS. What a pity that would have been ! 

POUR. Did you know him also ? 

ERAS. Indeed ; did I know him ? A tall fine-made 

T Consul was the name given to municipal officers in the southern pro- 
vinces of France. 


POUR. Not of the tallest ! 

ERAS. No, but well built. 

POUR. Eh ! yes. 

ERAS. Who is your nephew ? 

POUR. Yes. 

ERAS. Son of your brother and sister r 

POUR. Exactly so. 

ERAS. Canon of the church of what do you 

call it ? 

POUR. St. Stephen. 

ERAS. That is he. I do not know any other. 

POUR. {To Sbrigani). He mentions the whole family. 

SBR. He knows you better than you are aware of. 

POUR. From what I perceive, you stopped a long while 
in our town. 

ERAS. Two whole years. 

POUR. Then you were there when the governor stood 
sponsor to my cousin, the deputy-assessor's 8 child? 

ERAS. Indeed I was one of the first invited. 

POUR. That was an elegant affair. 

ERAS. Yes, very elegant ! 

POUR. A well-served collation. 

ERAS. There is no doubt of that. 

POUR. Then you must have witnessed the quarrel which 
I had with that gentleman from Perigord. 

ERAS. Yes. 

POUR. Zounds ! he found his match. 

ERAS. Ha! ha! 

POUR. He gave me a slap, but I told him what I thought 
of him. 

ERAS. To be sure. However, I insist upon you taking 
no other quarters than with me. 

POUR. Really I could not think . . . 

ERAS. Are you joking? I shall not allow my best friend 
to stop anywhere but with me. 

POUR. It would be ... 

ERAS. No, may the devil fly away with me ! You shall 
stay with me. 

8 The original has I'elu. See Tartu/e, Vol. II., note 46. 


SBR. ( To Monsieur de Pourceaugnac). Since he is ob- 
stinately bent upon it, I advise you to accept this offer. 

ERAS. Where is your luggage ? 

POUR. I left it with my servant where the coach 

ERAS. Let us send some one to fetch them. 

POUR. No, I have forbidden him to stir, unless I came 
myself, for fear of some roguery. 

SBR. That was a prudent precaution. 

POUR. One must be somewhat careful in these parts. 

ERAS. We see that clever people are up to everything. 

SBR. I will accompany this gentleman, and conduct 
him back again to where you wish. 

ERAS. Do so. I shall be glad to give some orders, and 
you have but to come back to this house. 

SBR. We shall be with you shortly. 

ERAS. ( To Monsieur de Pourceaugnac). I shall expect 
you impatiently. 

POUR. (To Sbrigam). This is an acquaintance which 
I did not dream of. 

SBR. He has the air of a gentleman. 

ERAS. {Alone}. Upon my word, Monsieur de Pour- 
ceaugnac, we will attack you on all sides. Things are 
prepared ; I have but to give the signal. Hullo ! 


ERAS. I believe, Sir, you are the doctor who has been 
spoken to in my name. 

APOTH. No, Sir; I am not the doctor; that honour 
does not belong to me; I am but an apothecary, an un- 
worthy apothecary, at your service. 

ERAS. And the doctor, is he within ? 

APOTH. Yes. He is just occupied in dispatching some 
patients ; and I will go and tell him that you are here. 

ERAS. No, do not stir. I will wait until he has done. 
It is to place under his care a certain relation of ours, of 
whom we spoke, and who has been attacked by a fit of 
madness, which we should be very glad to have cured 
before he is married. 

APOTH. I know what it is, I know all about it ; and I 
was with him when they came to speak to him about this 


matter. Indeed, you could not have addressed yourself 
to an abler doctor. He is a man who knows medicine 
thoroughly, as I know my alphabet, 9 and who would not 
abate one iota of the rules of the ancients, even if people 
die through it. Yes, he always follows the high-road, the 
high road, and does not try to find out mares' nests ; and 
for all the gold of the world, he would not cure any one 
with other remedies than those which the faculty pre- 

ERAS. He does right. A patient ought not to wish to 
be cured unless the faculty permits it. 

APOTH. It is not because we are fast friends that I speak 
thus: but it is really a treat to be his patient. I had 
rather die by his remedies than be cured by those of some 
one else. 10 For, whatever may happen, one is certain that 
things are done in regular order ; and when one dies under 
his treatment, your heirs have nothing to reproach you 

ERAS. That is a great consolation to a defunct. 

APOTH. Assuredly. One is at least glad to have died 
methodically. For the rest, he is not one of those doctors 
who haggle with diseases ; he is an expeditious man, ex- 
peditious, who loves to dispatch his patients ; and when 
one has to die, it is accomplished with the greatest possible 

ERAS. In fact, there is nothing like having done with a 
thing promptly. 

APOTH. That is true. What is the good of haggling so 
much, and so much beating about the bush ? One ought 
to know quickly the short or long of an illness. 

ERAS. You are right. 

APOTH. Already there are three of my children whose 
complaints he has done me the honor to treat, who have 
died in less than four days, and who in some one else's 
hands would have languished for three months or more. 

ERAS. It is pleasant to have such friends. 

APOTH. No doubt it is. I have only two children left, 
of whom he takes care as if they were his own ; he treats 

9 The original has ma Croix-de-par-Dieu. 

10 Moliere has already employed this joke in Love is the best Doctor, 
Act ii., Scene 5 (see Vol. II ) 


and controls them at his own fancy, without my interfering 
in anything ; and generally, when I come back from town, 
I am quite surprised to find them bled or purged by his 

ERAS. Most tender cares, these. 

APOTH. Here he is, here he is, here he comes. 


PEAS. (To the Doctor). He can bear it no longer, Sir ; 
and he says that he feels the most awful pains in his 

IST Doc. The patient is a fool: seeing that, in the 
complaint with which he is attacked he ought not, accord- 
ing to Galen, to suffer from the head at all, but from the 

PEAS. Be that as it may, Sir, he has nevertheless had 
looseness of the bowels for the last six months. 

IST Doc. Good ! that is a sign that it is getting clear 
inside. I will come and see him in two or three days ; but, 
should he die before that time, do not fail to let me know ; 
for it is not etiquette for a doctor to visit the dead. 

F. PEAS. {To the Doctor). My father, Sir, is getting 
worse and worse. 

IST Doc. That is not my fault. I am prescribing him 
remedies : why does he not get better ? How many times 
has he been bled ? 

F. PEAS. Fifteen times, Sir, in twenty days. 

IST Doc. Fifteen times bled? 

F. PEAS. Yes. 

IST Doc. And he does not get better? 

F. PKAS. No, Sir. 

IST Doc. That shows that the disease is not in the 
blood. We shall purge him as many times, to find out 
whether it is not in the humours ; and, if that does not 
succeed, we shall send him to take the waters. 

APOTH. That is the end ; that must be the end of all 
physic. 11 

11 When M. de Pourceaugnac is acted at the Comedie Fratifaise, this 
scene is omitted. 



ERAS. {To Doctor). It is I, Sir, who sent to speak to 
you, a few days ago, about a relative who is somewhat 
troubled in his mind, whom I wish to place under your 
care, so that he may be cured with greater facility, and 
may be least noticed. 

IST Doc. Yes, Sir ; I have already prepared everything, 
and promise you to take the utmost care of him. 

ERAS. He is just coming now. 

IST Doc. That happens very fortunately, and I have 
here one of my old friends with me, with whom I shall be 
glad to consult upon his illness. 


ERAS. {To Monsieur de Peurceaugnac). Some little 
unforeseen business obliges me to go away just now {Point- 
ing to the Doctor) ; but I leave you in the hands of this 
gentleman, )who will take care, for my sake, to treat you 
as well as possible. 

IST Doc. The duty of my profession enjoins me to do 
so; and it is quite sufficient that you charge me with this 

POUR. {Aside). It is his steward ; and he must be a 
man of position. 

IST Doc. ( To Eraste). Yes, I assure you that I shall 
treat this gentleman methodically, and according to every 
rule of our art. 

POUR. Good Heavens ! there is no need of so many 
ceremonies ; and I have not come here to cause any in- 

IST Doc. Such an occupation gives me only joy. 

ERAS. ( To the Doctor). Here are six pistoles in advance, 
besides what I have promised you. 

POUR. No, if you please, I shall not allow you to go to 
any expense, and you must not send out for anything on 
my account. 

ERAS. Pray do not trouble yourself; it is not for what 
you imagine. 

POUR. I beg of you to treat me only as a friend. 


ERAS. That is what I intend to do. (Softly to the Doctor). 
I recommend you above all not to let him slip out of 
your hands ; for he sometimes attempts to escape. 

IST Doc. Be not uneasy. 

ERAS. (70 Monsieur de Pourceaugnac}. I pray you to 
excuse my incivility. 

POUR. Do not mention it ; and you are doing me too 
much honour. 


IST Doc. It is a great honour to me, Sir, to have been 
selected to attend to you. 

POUR. I am your servant. 

IST Doc. This is a colleague of mine, an able man, 
with whom I am going to consult about the manner in 
which we shall treat you. 

POUR. There is no need of so many ceremonies, I tell 
you; and I am a man to be satisfied with ordinary things. 

IST Doc. Come, place chairs. 

( Two Servants enter and place chairs. 

POUR. (Aside). These are very lugubrious servants for 
a young man to keep. 

IST Doc. Come, Sir; take a seat, Sir. 

(The two Doctors make Monsieur de Pour- 
ceaugnac sit down between them. 

POUR. {Taking a seat}. Your very humble servant. 
( The two Doctors each take one of his hands to feel his 
pulse}. What does this mean ? 

IST Doer. Do you eat well, Sir? 12 

POUR. Yes ; and drink better still. 

IST Doc. So much the worse. This great craving for 
cold and wet is an indication of the heat and dryness in 
the inside. Do you sleep soundly ? 

POUR. Yes, when I have supped well. 

12 In Plautus' Afenachmi ; or, the twin-brothers, Menaechmus Sosicles 
is mistaken for his twin-brother, Menaechmus of Epidamnus, and behaves 
so oddly, that the tatter's father-in-law and wife consider him mad. and 
wish him to be treated by a doctor. The real Mensechmus makes his ap- 
pearance (Act v., Scene 3) and the scene between him and the physician, 
who thinks he is insane, is like the one between M. de Pourceaugnac and 
the two doctors. 


IST Doc. Have you any dreams? 

POUR. Sometimes. 

IST Doc. Of what nature are they? 

POUR. Of the nature of dreams. What sort of a con- 
versation is this? 

IST Doc. Your dejections, how are they? 

POUR. Upon my word, I understand nought of these 
questions ; and I prefer something to drink. 

IST Doc. A little patience. We are going to argue 
about your case before you ; and we shall do so in French, 
to be the more intelligible. 

POUR. What great arguing is needed to eat a morsel? 

IST Doc. Since one cannot cure a disease, unless one 
knows it perfectly, and since one cannot know it per- 
fectly without establishing a particular theory, and its 
real kind, by its diagnostic and prognostic signs; you will 
allow me, my elder colleague, to enter upon the conside- 
ration of the disease in question, before referring to the 
therapeutics, and the remedies which we shall determine 
upon for the perfect cure of said disease. I say, then, 
Sir, with your leave, that our patient here present is 
unfortunately attacked, affected, possessed, and troubled 
by that kind of madness which we very aptly denominate 
hypochondriacal melancholy; a kind of madness very 
troublesome, and which requires nothing less than an 
Esculapius like yourself, consummate in our art ; 13 you, I 
say, who have grown old in harness, as they say, and 
through whose hands so many of all sorts have passed. 
I call it hypochondriacal melancholy to distinguish it from 
the two others ; for the celebrated Galen has, as he always 
does, learnedly established three kinds of this disease, 
which we call melancholy, so named not only by the 
Latins, but also by the Greeks ; which is to be well ob- 
served in our case : the first, which emanated from the 
really bad state of the brain; the second, which proceeds 
entirely from the blood, made and become atrabilious ; 
the third, called hypochondriacal, which is ours, and 
which is caused by some defect of some part of the lower 

13 When M. de Pourceaugnac is acted, the passage from "you, I say,* 1 
until " proved to suffer from," is omitted. 


abdomen, and of the lower region, but particularly from 
the spleen, the heat and inflammation of which drives to 
the brain of our patient a great deal of fuliginous, thick, 
and gross matter, the black and malignant vapour of 
which causes depravation of the functions of the principal 
faculty, and produces the complaints, by which, according 
to our argument, he is manifestly attacked, and proved to 
suffer from. That it be so : and as an incontestable diag- 
nosis of what I tell yon, you have only to consider thv; 
great seriousness which you perceive, this gloominess, ac 
companied by fear and mistrust, pathognomonic and indi- 
vidual signs of this complaint, so well described by the di- 
vine old man, Hippocrates ; this physiognomy, these red 
and haggard eyes, this great beard, this state of the body, 
thin, emaciated, black, and hairy ; which signs show him 
tc be very much affected by this disease, proceeding from 
the illness of hypochondriasis ; which disease, by lapse of 
time, having become naturalized, chronic, habitual, and 
ingrained in him, might well degenerate either into mania, 
or into consumption, or into apoplexy, or even into de- 
termined phrenzy and raving. All this taken for granted, 
since a disease well defined is half cured, for ignotinulla 
est curatio morbi, it will not be difficult to determine the 
remedies which we must give to this gentleman. Firstly, 
to cure this obdurate plethora, and this luxuriant cacochy- 
my throughout the body, I am of the opinion that he 
should be liberally phlebotomized ; that is to say, that he 
should be bled frequently and copiously, in the first place, 
at the basilic vein, then at the cephalic vein, 15 and even, 
if the disease be obstinate, that the vein in the forehead 
should be opened, and that the opening should be large, 
that the thick blood may come out ; and at the same 
time that he should be purged, deobstructed, and evacuated 
by proper and suitable purgatives ; that means by chola- 
gogues, melanogogues, 16 et cetera; and as the real source of 

14 There is no cure for a disease which is not known. 

15 The basilic vein was the middle vein of the right arm ; the cephalic 
vein, a vein running along the arm, so named because the ancients used to 
open it for disorders of the head. 

16 A chologogue is a cathartic to carry off the bile ; a melanogogue a 
remedy to drive out black malignant matter. 


all the evil is either a gross or a feculent humour, or else a 
black and thick vapour, which obscures, infects, and con- 
taminates the animal spirit, it is proper that he should 
afterwards take a bath of soft and clean water, with plenty 
of whey, to purify, by the water, the feculence of the gross 
humours, and to clear, by the milk, the blackness of this 
vapour : but, before all things, I think it right to amuse 
him by agreeable conversations, songs and musical instru- 
ments, to which we might add some dancers without any 
objection, so that by their movements, nimbleness, and 
agility they may excite and awaken the stagnation of his 
benumbed spirits, which occasions the thickness of his 
blood, by which this disease is caused. These are the reme- 
dies of which I have been thinking, to which many other 
and better ones might be added by this gentleman our 
master and senior, according to the experience, judgment, 
knowledge, and sufficiency which he has acquired in our 
art. Dtxi. 

2d Doc. Heaven forbid, Sir, that I should entertain the 
thought of adding aught to what you have just said ! You 
have discoursed so well on all the signs, symptoms, and 
causes of this gentleman's complaint ; the argument which 
you have produced is so learned and beautiful that it is 
impossible for him not to be mad and hypochondriacally 
melancholic ; and should he not be, he must become so 
for the sake of the beautiful things which you have said, 
and for the justness of the reasoning which you have pro- 
duced. Yes, Sir, you have very graphically depicted, gra- 
phic depinxisti, everything that pertains to this disease. 
Nothing could be more learnedly, wisely, ingeniously con- 
ceived, thought-out, imagined, than that which you have 
pronounced on this complaint, whether regarded as diagno- 
sis, prognosis, or therapeutics ; and nothing remains for me 
to do here but to- congratulate this gentleman upon having 
fallen into your hands, and to tell him that he ought to be 
only too happy to be mad, to prove the efficacy and gen- 
tleness of the remedies which you have so judiciously pro- 
posed. I approve of them all, manibus et pedibus descendo 
in tuam sententtam. All that I would wish to add is to 

17 " I am hand and feet of your opinion,'' because in the Roman Senate 


make the blood-lettings and purgatives in odd numbers, 
numero deus imparc gaudetf* to take the whey before the 
bath ; to apply a bandage with salt to his forehead (salt 
is the symbol of wisdom) ; to have the walls of his room 
whitewashed, in order to dissipate the gloom of his spirits, 
album est disgregativum visits; and to give him by-and-by 
a small clyster, to serve as a prelude and introduction to 
those judicious remedies, from which, if he is to be cured 
at all, he ought to receive relief. May Heaven grant that 
these remedies, which are yours, Sir, may prove successful, 
according to our intention ! 

POUR. Gentlemen, I have been listening to you for this 
hour. Are we playing a comedy here ? 

IST Doc. No, Sir, we are not playing at all. 

POUR. What is all this ? and what do you mean by all 
this gibberish and foolery ? 

IST Doc. Good ! he insults us ! that is a diagnosis 
which was wanting for the confirmation of the disease ; 
and this might be turning to mania. 

POUR. (Aside}. With whom have I been placed here ? 
(Jfe expectorates two or three times). 

IST Doc. Another diagnosis; frequent expectoration. 

POUR. Let us drop this, and get away from here. 

IST Doc. Another still ; the anxiety to be moving. 

POUR. But what is all this affair, and what do you want 
with me ? 

IST Doc. To cure you, according to the order which 
has been given us. 

POUR. To cure me ? 

IST Doc. Yes. 

POUR. Zounds ! I am not ill. 

IST Doc. A bad sign, when a patient does not feel his 

POUR. I tell you that I am very well. 

IST Doc. We know better than you how you are ; and 
we are physicians who see clearly into your constitution. 

those who were of the same opinion as the proposer of a certain law, went 
on his side, and even sometimes applauded. 

18 This is a phrase from the eighth eclogue of Virgil, " An odd number 
pleases the god." 

19 White wearies the sight. 


POUR, if you are physicians, I have no business with 
you ; and I do not care a straw for physic. 

IST Doc. Hum ! hum ! This man is more mad than 
we thought. 

POUR. My father and mother would never take medi- 
cine, and they both died without doctor's assistance. 

IST Doc. I am no longer surprised that they have pro- 
duced a son who is bereft of his senses. (To the second 
Doctor). Let us proceed to the cure; and by the ex- 
hilarating gentleness of harmony, soften, mitigate, and 
calm the acerbity of his spirits, which I see on the point 
of becoming inflamed. 110 


What the devil is this? Have the people of these parts 
taken leave of their wits? I have never seen anything 
like it, and I understand nothing about it. 

TESQUE DOCTORS, They first all sit down, the Doctors 
rise several times to M. de Pourceaugnac, who 
rises as often to return the compliment. 

THE TWO Doers. Good day, good day, good day, n 
Do not allow yourself to be killed 
By melancholic grief. 
We will make you laugh 
With our harmonious songs. 
It is only to cure you 
That we have come hither. 
Good day, good day, good day. 

i ST Doc. Madness is nothing else 

But melancholy. 
The patient need not despair. 
If he will but take a little recreation. 
Madness is nothing else 
But melancholy. 

50 The consultation of the two doctors is only a very slight caricature of 
the nonsense spoken by physicians in Moliere's time. 
" The original is sung in Italian. 


2 D Doc. Come, take courage ; sing, dance, laugh ; 

And, if you would do better still, 
When you feel your fit of madness come on, 
Take a glass of wine, 
And sometimes a pinch of snuff, 
Monsieur de Pourceaugnac. 
Come, keep gay. 


Entry of the Ballet. 
Dance of the Mummers round Monsieur de Pourceaugnac. 

CARY, (carrying a syringe). 

APOTH. This is a little remedy, a little remedy, which 
we must apply, if you please, if you please. 23 

POUR. How now? I do not want it ! 

APOTH. It has been prescribed, Sir, it has been pre- 

POUR. Ah ! what a noise ! 

APOTH. Take it, Sir, take it ; it will do you no harm, 
it will do you no harm. 

POUR. Ah ! 

APOTH. It is just a little injection, a little injection, 
gentle, gentle; it is gentle, gentle; there, Sir, take it, 
take it ; it is to open the bowels, to open the bowels, to 
open the bowels. 


Two Doer. Take it, Sir, take, take it, it will do you no 
harm; take it, Sir, take it, Sir. 24 

w The original has matassins, a word derived either from the Spanish or 
Italian, and signifying '' dancers who engage in a mock battle." 

M Such a scene, which would offend now, was not considered indelicate, 
in Moliere's time. 

M We give the original Italian, because M. de Pourceaugnac refers to it 
in the Fourth Scene of the Second Act : " Piglialo su, Signer monsu ; 
Piglialo, piglialo, piglialo su, Che non ti fara male. Piglialo su questo 
serviziale : Piglialo su, Signor monsu; Piglialo, piglialo, piglialo su." 


POUR. Go to the devil ! 

{Monsieur de Pourceaugnac, putting on his hat to protect 
himself against the syringes, is followed by the two Doctors 
and the Mummers ; he passes at the back of the stage, and 
returns to place himself again on his chair, near which he 
finds the Apothecary waiting for him, which compels him to 
sit down; the two Doctors and Mummers re-enter also.) 

Two Doc. Take it Sir, take, take it, it will do you no 
harm ; take it, Sir, take it, Sir. 

(Monsieur de Pourceaugnac takes to his heels with the 
chair behind him; the Apothecary places his syringe against 
it, and the Doctors and Mummers follow him.) a 



IST Doer. He has forced every obstacle which I had 
placed in his way, and has withdrawn himself from the 
remedies which I began to apply to him. 

SBR. That is being a great enemy to himself, to fly 
from remedies so salutary as yours. 

IST. Doc. It is a sign of a disordered brain, and of 
a corrupted reason, not to wish to be cured. 

SBR. You would have cured him without any difficulty. 

IST Doc. Undoubtedly: even if there had been a com- 
plication of a dozen diseases. 

SBR. He makes you lose fifty well-earned pistoles how- 

IST Doc. I ! I do not intend to lose them, and I mean 
to cure him in spite of himself. He is bound to take my 

25 One of the grotesque doctors was represented by the famous musician 
Lulli, who, it is said, wrote the words, and certainly composed the music, 
of the thirteenth scene. He played under the name of Signor Chiacchia- 
rone. This stands probably in the book of the ballet for the Italian 
chiacckierone, which means ''talker of nonsense," and under which name 
he also, at a later period, played the Muphti, in the Citizen who apes the 
Nobleman. The pursuit after M. de Pourceaugnac is sometimes more or 
less prolonged. After he has left the stage, he reappears through the 
prompter's box, with all his enemies in full pursuit ; he then takes a deal 
board, and knocks down one of the mummers, who is carried off. He 
wishes to raise a laugh, and often succeeds. 



remedies, and I will have him apprehended wherever I 
find him, as a deserter from physic, and as having com- 
mitted an infraction of my prescriptions. 

SBR. You are right. Your remedies were certain, and 
it is robbing you of so much money. 

IST Doc. Where can I get some news about him ? 

SBR. At Mr. Oronte's, surely, whose daughter he has 
come to marry, and who, knowing nothing of the infir- 
mity of his intended son-in-law, will perhaps make haste to 
conclude this marriage. 

IST Doc. I will go and speak to him directly. 

SBR. You can do no harm. 

IST Doc. He is bound to my consultations, and a pa- 
tient shall not play the fool with a doctor. 

SBR. That is very well said of you ; and if you take 
my advice, you will not allow him to be married until you 
have physicked him to your heart's content. 

IST Doc. Leave me to manage it. 

SBR. {Going aside). I, on my part, will go and bring 
another battery into play ; and the father-in-law shall be 
duped as much as the son-in-law. 


IST Doc. You have a certain Monsieur de Pourceau- 
gnac with you, Sir, who is to marry your daughter? 

ORON. Yes; I am expecting him from Limoges, and he 
ought to have arrived by this time. 

IST Doc. So he is, and he has run away from my house, 
after having been placed there ; but I forbid you, in the 
name of the Faculty, to go on with the marriage which 
you have arranged, until I have duly prepared him for it, 
and put him in a condition to raise up children sound in 
both body and mind. 

ORON. What do you mean ? 

IST Doc. Your intended son-in-law has been constituted 
my patient ; his disease, which I have been told to cure, 
is property which belongs to me, and which I reckon 
among my possessions ; and I declare to you that I will 
not suffer him to marry before he has given satisfaction to 
the medical Faculty, and taken the remedies which I have 
prescribed for him. 


ORON. Is there any complaint? 

IST Doc. Yes. 

ORON. And which, pray? 

IST Doc. Do not make yourself uneasy. 

ORON. Is it some complaint which . . . 

IST Doc. Doctors are bound to secrecy. It is sufficient 
that I command you, you and your daughter, not to cele- 
brate, without my consent, the nuptials with him, under 
penalty of incurring the displeasure of the Faculty, and of 
being overwhelmed with every disease, as it pleases us. 

ORON. If that is the case, I do not intend to conclude 
this match. 

IST Doc. He has been placed under my care ; and he is 
bound to be my patient. 

ORON. That is alt right. 

IST Doc. He may run away as much as he likes ; I shall 
have him condemned, by decree, to be cured by me. 

ORON. You have my consent. 

IST Doc. Yes, he must be cured by me, or die. 

ORON. I am quite willing. 

IST Doc. And, if I do not find him, I shall hold you re- 
sponsible ; and I shall cure you instead of him. 

ORON. I am in good health. 

IST Doc. That does not matter. I must have a patient; 
and I shall take whom I can. 

ORON. Take whom you like;* but it shall not be me. 
(Alone}. That is a nice argument ! 

SCENE III. ORONTE, SBRIGANI, disguised as a Flemish 

SBR. Sir, by your leave, I am a foreign Flemish mer- 
chant, who should wish to ask you for some little infor- 
mation. 16 

ORON. What is it, Sir ? 

SBR. Pray, put your hat on, Sir. 

ORON. Tell me, Sir, what you wish ? 

2(5 Sbrigani speaks a kind of broken French, which we thought it useless 
to try and imitate in English. Here is his first phrase in the original : 
" Montsir, avec le votre permissione, je suisse un (rancher marchand flam- 
ane, qui voudroit bienne vous temandair un petit novvel.'' 


SBR. I shall not do so, Sir, unless you put your hat on 
your head. 

ORON. Be it so, then. What is the matter ? 

SBR. Do you know perchance in this town a certain 
Mr. Oronte? 

ORON. Yes, I do know him. 

SBR. And what kind of man is he, Sir, if you please ? 

ORON. He is a man like other men 

SBK. I ask you, Sir, whether he is a rich man, who is 
well to do ? 

ORON. Yes. 

SBR. But very much rich, I mean, Sir ? 

ORON. Yes. 

SBR. I am very glad of it, Sir. 

ORON. But why so ? 

SBR. It is, Sir, for a certain reason, which is of conse- 
quence to us. 

ORON. But once more, why? 

SBR. It is, Sir, because this Mr. Oronte gives his 
daughter in marriage to a certain Monsieur de Pour- 

ORON. Well? 

SBR. And this Monsieur de Pourceaugnac, Sir, is a man 
who owes a great deal to ten or twelve Flemish merchants 
who have come hither. 

ORON. This Monsieur de Pourceaugnac owes a great 
deal to ten or twelve merchants ? 

SBR. Yes, Sir; and eight months ago, we have obtained 
a little judgment against him ; and he has put off paying 
all his creditors until this marriage, if this Mr. Oronte 
gives him his daughter. 

ORON. Ho ! ho ! he has put his creditors off till then ? 

SBR. Yes, Sir ; and we expect this marriage with great 

ORON. (Aside). This is not a bad warning. (Aloud*). I 
wish you good day. 

SBR. I thank you, Sir, for your great favour. 

ORON. Your very humble servant. 

SBR. I am so, Sir, after the great obligation for the in- 
formation which you have given me. (Alone, after having 
taken off his beard and undone the Flemish dress, which he 


wears over his). Things are not going badly. Let us doff 
our Flemish disguise, to bethink ourselves of other con- 
trivances ; and let us endeavour to sow so much suspicion 
and division between the father and the son-in-law, that it 
shall break off the proposed marriage. Both are equally 
disposed to swallow the baits which are held out to them ; 
and, amongst us rogues of the first water, it is but child's 
play, when we meet with such easy game as that. 


POUR. {Believing himself alone). Piglialo su, piglialo 
su, signor Monsu. What the devil is it ? (Perceiving 
Sbrigani}. Ah ! 

SBR. What is it, Sir? What ails you? 

POUR. Everything which I see appears an enemy to me. 

SBR. How? 

POUR. You do not know what has happened to me in 
that house, to the door of which you escorted me ? 

SBR. Indeed I do not. What is it ? 

POUR. I thought to be treated there in a proper man- 

SBR. Well? 

POUR. I leave you in the hands of this gentleman. 
Doctors dressed in black. In a chair. Feel the pulse. 
That it be so. He is mad. Two stout boobies. Big hats. 
Buon di. buon di. Six pantaloons. Ta, ra, ta, ta ; ta, ra, 
ta, ta. Allegramente, monsu Pourceaugnac. An apothe- 
cary. Injection. Take it, Sir; take it, take it. It is 
gentle, gentle, gentle. It is to loosen, to loosen, loosen. 
Piglialo su, signor Monsu; piglialo, piglialo, piglialo su. 
Never have I been so crammed with silliness. 

SBR. What does all this mean? 

POUR. It means that this man, with his great embraces, 
is a scamp, who has put me in a house to make a fool of 
me and to play me a trick. 

SBR. Can it be possible? 

POUR. Undoubtedly. There were a dozen of mad people 
at my heels, and I have had the greatest trouble in the 
world to escape from their paws. 

SBR. Look at that now; faces are very deceptive! I 
should have thought him the most affectionate of your 


friends. This is one of my surprises, how it is possible 
that there are such rogues in the world. 

POUR. Do I not smell of an injection ? Just see, if you 

SBR. Eh ! there is something very like it. 

POUR. My mind and nose are full of it ; and it always 
seems to me that I see a dozen syringes taking aim at me. 

SBR. This is very great wickedness ! and men must be 
great wretches and scoundrels. 

POUR. Pray, tell me the whereabouts of Mr. Oronte's 
house ; I shall be glad to go there by and by. 

SBR. Ah! ah! you are then of an amorous disposition? 
and you have heard it mentioned that this Mr. Oronte has 
a daughter. 

POUR. Yes, I come to marry her. 

SBR. Come to mar . . . marry her ? 

POUR. Yes. 

SBR. In marriage? 

POUR. In what way then? 

SBR. Ah! that is a different thing; and I ask your 

POUR. What does this mean ? 

SBR. Nothing. 

POUR. But once more? 

SBR. Nothing, I tell you. I spoke somewhat hastily. 

POUR. I beseech you to tell me what there is beneath 

SBR. No, that is not necessary. 

POUR. Pray. 

SBR. No, not at all ; I beg of you to excuse me. 

POUR. Are you not a friend ? 

SBR. Yes; one could not be more so. 

POUR. Then you should conceal nothing from me. 

SBR. It is a matter which concerns the interest of our 

POUR. Well, to induce you to open your heart to me, 
here is a little ring, which I pray you to keep for my sake. 

SBR. Just allow me to consider whether I can do so in 
all conscience. (After having gone a few steps away from 
Monsieur de Pourceaugnac\ Here is a man, who looks 
after his welfare, who tries to provide for his daughter as 


advantageously as possible; and we must do harm to no 
one. Those things are well known, it is true ; but I am 
going to reveal them to a man who is ignorant of them ; 
and it is forbidden to bruit scandal about one's neighbour, 
that is true. But, on the other hand, here is a stranger 
whom they wish to deceive, and who, in good faith, comes 
to marry a girl whom he does not know, and kas never 
seen ; a gentleman full of candour, to whom I feel well 
disposed, who does me the honour to look upon me as 
his friend, places confidence in me, and gives me a ring 
to wear for his sake. (To Monsieur de Pourceaugnac). 
Yes, I find that I can tell you matters without wounding 
my conscience ; but let us try to tell them to you as mildly 
as possible, and to spare people as much as we can. To 
tell you that this girl leads a dishonourable life, would be 
putting it somewhat too strongly: let us seek, to explain 
ourselves, some milder terms. The word galante, again, 
seems not enough ; that of consummate coquette appears to 
me to serve our end, and I may employ it to tell you hon- 
estly what she is. 27 

POUR. Then they wish to make me their dupe. 

SBR. Perhaps, at bottom, there is not so much harm as 
the world believes ; and after all, there are people who 
are above these kinds of things, and who do not believe 
that their honour depends . . . 

POUR. I am your servant. I do not care to wear a 
head-dress like that ; and, in the Pourceaugnac family, we 
like to go about with heads erect. 

SBRI. Here comes the father. 

POUR. That old man. 

SBRI. Yes. I leave you. 


POUR. Good day, Sir, good day. 
ORON. Your servant, Sir, your servant. 
POUR. You are Mr. Oronte, is it not so? 
ORON. Yes. 

27 The meaning of the words has changed since Molidre's time, when 
galante was considered a milder term than coquette ; now, it is the con- 


POUR. And I am Monsieur de Pourceaugnac. 

ORON. So much the better. 

POUR. Think you, Mr. Oronte, that the Limousins are 
fools ? 

ORON. Think you, Monsieur de Pourceaugnac, that the 
Parisians are idiots. 

POUR. Do you imagine, Mr. Oronte, that a man like 
me is so hungry after a woman ? 

ORON. Do you imagine, Monsieur de Pourceaugnac, 
that a girl like mine is so hungry after a husband ? 


JUL. They have just told me, father, that Monsieur de 
Pourceaugnac has arrived. Ah ! this is he no doubt, and 
my heart tells me so. How well he is built ! how well 
he looks ! and how glad I am to have such a husband ! 
Permit me to embrace him, and to show him that . . . 

ORON. Gently, daughter, gently. 

POUR. {Aside). The devil ! what a forward hussy ! How 
she fires up at once ! 

ORON. I should much like to know, Monsieur Pour- 
ceaugnac, by what reason you come to ... 

JUL. (Approaches Monsieur de Pourceaugnac, looks at 
htm with a languishing air, and endeavours to take his hand}. 
How glad I am to see you ! and how I burn with im- 
patience . . . 

ORON. Ah ! daughter, get you gone from that, I tell 

POUR. (Aside). Oh ! oh ! what a sprightly wench ! 

ORON. I should like to know, I say, by what reason, if 
you please, you have the audacity . . . 

{Julia continues the same by -play.) 

POUR. Odds, upon my life ! 

ORON. {To Julia). Again! What does this mean ? 

JUL. May I not caress the husband whom you have 
chosen for me ? 

ORON. No. Go in-doors. 

JUL. Let me look at him. 

ORON. Go in-doors, I tell you. 

JUL. I wish to stop here, if you please. 


ORON. But I do not please ; and, if you do not go in 
directly . . . 

JUL. Very well ! I am going. 

ORON. My daughter is a fool who does not understand 
these matters. 

POUR. (Aside}. How delighted she is with us ! 

ORON. ( To Julia, who has remained after having taken 
a few steps, pretending to go}. You will not go then ? 

JUL. When am I going to be married to this gentle- 
man ? 

ORON. Never; and you are not for him. 

JUL. But I will be for him, since you have promised 
him to me. 

ORON. If I promised him, I retract my promise. 

POUR. (Aside}. She would like to make sure of me. 

JUL. You may do what you like ; we shall be married 
in spite of all the world. 

ORON. I shall hinder you well enough, both of you, I 
assure you. What a frenzy possesses her all at once. 


POUR. Good Heavens ! intended father-in-law, do not 
give yourself so much trouble ; we do not mean to carry 
off your daughter, and all your make-believes will lead to 

ORON. Neither will yours have any great effect. 

POUR. Did you imagine that Leonard de Pourceaugnac 
is the man to buy a pig in a poke, 28 and that there was 
not sufficient judgment in him to know how to manage to 
be informed about people's history, and to find out whe- 
ther, in marrying, he had sufficient guarantee for his 

ORON. I do not know what this means ; but did you 
take it into your head that a man of sixty-three years of 
age would have so little brains, and so little considera- 
tion for his daughter, as to marry her to a man who has, 
you know what, and who has been put into the hands of 
a doctor to be cured ? 

28 The original has chat en poche ; hence the English word "poke," for 
a sack, a bag. 


POUR. That is a trick which has been played upon me ; 
and I suffer from no complaint. 

ORON. The doctor told me so himself. 

POUR. The doctor told a lie then. I am a gentleman, 
and I shall ask him satisfaction sword in hand. 

ORON. I know what I ought to believe ; and you will 
not disabuse my mind upon that subject, nor upon the 
debts which you have put off until you were married to 
my daughter. 

POUR. Which debts ? 

ORON. The pretence is useless; and I have seen the 
Flemish merchant, who, with other creditors, obtained 
judgment against you eight months ago. 

POUR. What Flemish merchant ? What creditors ? 
What judgment obtained against me ? 

ORON. You know well enough what I mean. 

LUCETTE, Defending to be a woman from Languedoc? 

Luc. Ah ! you are here, and I find you at last, after 
my many journeys in search of you. Can you bear to 
look me in the face, you scoundrel ? 

POUR. What does this woman want ? 

Luc. What do I want, you infamous wretch ! You 
pretend not to know me; and you do not blush, rogue 
that you are, you do not blush to see me. (To Oronte). 
I do not know, Sir, whether it is you, as I have been told, 
whose daughter he wants to marry ; but I declare to you 
that I am his wife, and that seven years ago, when he was 
passing through P6zenas, he was artful enough, with his 
pretty speeches in which he is so clever, to gain my heart, 

19 In the original, Lucette talks a kind of Languedoc dialect, which it 
would be impossible to render into English. The first few sentences are 
as follows : " Ah ! tu es assi, et a la fi yen te trobi apres abe fait tant de 
passes. Podes-tu, scelerat, podes-tu sousteni ma bisto . . . Que te boli in- 
fame / Tufas semblan de non me pas connouisse, et non rougisses pas, 
impudent, que tu sios, su ne rougisses pas de me beyre." Some commenta- 
tors say that this is not the correct language of Languedoc ; but it has 
been justly observed that Lucette speaks Languedoc enough to deceive 
Pourceaugnac, and French enough to be understood by the spectators. 
Besides, Moliere only says that she pretends to be a woman from Langue- 
doc, btit not that she is really one. 


and, by these means, persuaded me to give him my hand 
in marriage. 

ORON. Oh ! oh ! 

POUR. What the- devil is this? 

Luc. The wretch left me three years afterwards, under 
the pretext of some business which took him to his coun- 
try ; and since then I have had no tidings from him ; but 
when I was least thinking about it, they warned me that 
he was coming into this town to marry again another 
young girl which her parents had promised him, without 
knowing anything of his first marriage. I immediately 
left everything, and I have come hither as quickly as I 
could, to oppose this criminal union, and to unmask the 
most wicked of men before the eyes of the world. 

POUR. This is a strange audacity ! 

Luc. Rascal ! are you not ashamed to insult me, in- 
stead of being confused by the secret reproaches which 
your conscience must make you ? 

POUR. I, I am your husband ? 

Luc. Infamous wretch ! dare you say the contrary ? 
Ah ! you know well enough, to my misfortune, that all 
which I say is but too true : and would to Heaven it were 
not, and that you had left me in the state of innocence 
and the tranquility of mind in which I lived before your 
charms and your deceits unfortunately made me leave it ! 
I would not then be obliged to cut the sorry figure which 
I do now, to see a cruel husband despise all the love I had 
for him ; and to leave me mercilessly to the mortal grief 
which I feel at his perfidious behaviour. 

ORON. I cannot help crying. ( To Monsieur de Pour- 
ccaugnac). Go, you are a wicked man. 

POUR. I know nothing about all this. 


NER. 80 (counterfeiting a woman from Picardy). Ah ! I 

80 The same observation which I have made in note 29, page 122. with 
regard to Lucette's dialect, applies to Ne"rine's, of which we give the first 
four sentences : " Ah! jen'en pis plus ; je sis tout essoflee ! Ah ! fin- 
faron, tu m'as bienfait courir ; tu ne m'ecaperas mie. Justice I justice / 
je boute empechement au mariage. (a Orontt) Ches man meri, monsieur, 
etje veux faire p'udre che ban pindard-la." 


am exhausted ; I am all out of breath ! Ah ; you braggart, 
you have led me a fine dance, but you shall not escape 
me. Justice ! justice ! I put a stop to this marriage. {To 
Oronte). He is my husband, Sir, and I mean to have the 
gallows-bird hanged. 

POUR. What, another one ! 

ORON. {Aside}. The devil, what sort of fellow is this ? 

Luc. And what do you mean, with your putting a stop 
to, and your hanging ? Is that man your husband ? 

NER. Yes, Madam, and I am his wife. 

Luc. That is false, and it is I who am his wife ; and, if 
he is to be hanged, it is I who will have him hanged. 

NER. I understand nothing of all this gibberish. 

Luc. I tell you that I am his wife. 

NER. His wife? 

Luc. Yes. 

NER. I tell you once more that it is I who am his 

Lye. And I maintain that it is I. 

NER. It is four years since he married me. 

Luc. It is seven since he took me to wife. 

NER. I have proofs of all that I say. 

Luc. All my country knows it. 

NER. Our town is witness to it. 

Luc. All Pezenas saw our wedding. 

NER. All St. Quentin was at ours. 

Luc. Nothing can be more true. 

NER. Nothing can be more certain. 

Luc. {To Monsieur de Pourceaugnac}. Would you 
dare to deny it, you villain? 

NER. Do you mean to give the lie to me, you wicked 
wretch ? 

POUR. The one is as true as the other. 

Luc. What impudence ! How now, you wretch, you 
remember no longer poor little Francois, and poor Jean- 
nette, who are the fruits of our union? 

NER. Just look at the insolence ! What ! you do not 
remember that poor child, our little Madeline, which you 
left me as a pledge of your fidelity? 

POUR. What impudent sluts ! 

Luc. Come here Francois, come here Jeannette, come 


all of you, come and show an unnatural father his want 
of feeling for us all. 

NER. Come, Madeleine, come, my child, come here to 
shame your father for his impertinence. 

NERINE, several children. 

THE CHIL. Ah, papa ! papa ! papa ! 

POUR. The devil take the strumpet's brats ! 

Luc. What, you wretch, you are not overwhelmed with 
shame to receive your children thus, and to close your 
ears to all paternal tenderness! You shall not escape me, 
you infamous rogue! I shall follow you everywhere, and 
reproach you with your crime until I, shall be revenged, 
and see you hanged. You scoundrel, I will have you 

NER. Do you not blush to speak these words, and to 
remain insensible to the caresses of this poor child ? But 
you shall not get out of my clutches; and, in spite of your 
teeth I shall let the world see that I am your wife; and 
I shall have you hanged. 

THE CHIL. Papa ! papa ! papa ! 

POUR. Help! help! Where shall I fly? I can bear 
this no longer. 

ORON. Come, you will do well to have him punished ; 
and he deserves to be hanged. 


I am managing these things very nicely, and everything 
goes well as yet. We shall tire our provincial to such an 
extent that upon my word, he will be obliged to decamp. 


POUR. Ah ! I am half dead ! What troubles ! What 
a cursed town ! Set upon from all sides ! 

SBR. What is it, Sir? Has something else happened? 

POUR. Yes. It rains syringes and women in this 

SBR. How is that ? 

POUR. Two jabbering jades have come and accused me 


of having married them both, and threaten me with the 

SBR. That is a wicked business; and the law in these 
parts is very rigorous against that sort of crime. 

POUR. Yes; but although there should be an informa- 
tion, citation, decree, and judgment obtained by surprise, 
default and contumacy, I can, by availing myself of a 
conflict of jurisdictions, gain time, and find out the flaws 
which shall nullify the proceedings. 31 

SBR. That is talking of it in the right terms, and it is 
clear, Sir, that you are of the profession. 

POUR. I ! not at all. I am a gentleman. 

SBR. To speak thus you must have studied the law. 

POUR. In no wise. It is only common sense which 
makes me conclude that justifying evidence will be ad- 
mitted, and that I cannot be condemned on a simple 
accusation, without the witnesses being examined and 
confronted with the accused parties. 

SBR. That is finer still. 

POUR. These words come to me without my knowing 

SBR. It seems to me that the common sense of a gentle- 
man may go as far as to conceive what, is right and proper 
in law, but not to know the legal terms. 

POUR. These are a few words which I remember from 
having read them in novels. 

SBR. Ah ! that is all right ! 

POUR. To show you that I understand nothing at all of 
a lawyer's profession, I pray you to take me to some bar- 
rister to consult him about my business. 

SBR. I shall do so, and shall take you to two very able 
men ; but I must warn you beforehand not to be surprised 
at their way of speaking. They have contracted from the 
bar a certain habit of declamation which would lead one to 
suppose that they were singing, and you might mistake 
everything they say for music. 

POUR. What does it matter how they speak, as long as 
they tell me what I wish to know ! 

31 The law terms ''information, ajournement, decret, jusfement, defaut, 
contumace, and conflit de juridiction" were all correct in Moliere's time. 



i sf Bar. (Drawling his words as he sings} 

Polygamy is a business, 
Is a hanging business. 

zd Bar. (Singing very quickly, and stammering) 

Your case 

Is plain and clear; 

And all the law 

In such a matter 

Decides distinctly. 

If you consult our authors, 

Legislators, and commentators, 

Justinianus, Pipinianus, 

Ulpianus, and Tribonianus, 

Fernand, Rebuffe, John Imola, 

Paul de Castro, Julianus, Bartholine, 

Jason, Alciati, and Cujas, 

That great man so able ; 

Polygamy is a business, 

Is a hanging business. 32 

Entry of the Ballet. 

Dance of the Two Solicitors and the Two Sergeants. 
While the SECOND BARRISTER sings the following words : 

All people that are civilized 

And sensible, 

The French, the English, the Dutch, 
The Danes, the Swedes, the Poles, 
The Portuguese, the Spaniards, the Flemish, 
The Italians, the Germans, 
Have all a like law on this case ; 
And there is no difficulty in the matter. 

81 The French comic dramatists and satirists have often mentioned the 
old jurists. Rebuffe is cited by Racine in Its Plaideurs ; Alciati, by 
Boileau in the Lutrin ; and Jason, the least known of all, by Corneille in 
the Menteur. ' To study Bartholine or Cujas "' was then a peri phrase for 
''studying law." 


Polygamy is a business, 
Is a hanging business. 

The First Barrister sings these words : 

Polygamy is a business, 
Is a hanging business. 

{Monsieur de Pourceaugnac getting impatient, 
drives them away. 33 


SBR. Yes, matters are proceeding as we like ; and as he 
is not particularly bright, and his understanding is of the 
narrowest, I have inspired him with such a great fear of 
the severity of the law in these parts, and of the prepara- 
tions which are already being made for his execution, that 
he is determined to take flight, and to evade with greater 
facility the people, who I have told him were stationed at 
the gates of the town to arrest him, he has made up his 
mind to disguise himself, and the disguise which he has 
assumed is a woman's dress. 

ERAS. I should like much to see him in that dress. 

SBR. You, on your part, should think of finishing the 
comedy ; and while I am acting my scenes with him, go 
and . . . {He whispers something in his ear). You 
understand rightly? 

ERAS. Yes. 

SBR. And when I shall have put him where I wish . . . 
( WJiispers again). 

ERAS. Very good. 

SBR. And when the father shall have been warned by 
me ... ( Whispers again]. 

ERAS. Things could not go on better. 

SBR. Here comes our young lady. Go quickly, that 
we may not be seen together. 

88 In Moliere's time, a bigamist was really condemned to death. In 
later times, he was put in the stocks, with as many distaffs tied to his arms 
as he had married wives, and then sent to the galleys, or banished. 


woman, SBRIGANI. 

SBR. As for me, I do not believe that they ever could 
recognise you in this state; and as you are, you look like 
a woman of quality. 

POUR. What astonishes me is that the forms of justice 
are not better observed in these parts. 

SBR. Yes, I have already told you, they begin here by 
hanging a man, and then they judge his case. 

POUR. That is very unjust justice. 

SBR. It is devilishly severe, especially on these sorts of 

POUR. But when people are innocent ? 

SBR. It matters not ; they do not inquire into that ; and 
besides, they have got a terrible hatred in this town for 
people from your country ; and nothing gives them greater 
delight than to see a Limousin hanged. 

POUR. What have the Limousins done to them? 

SBR. They are brutes here, foes to all gentility and 
merit in those of other towns. As for me, I confess to 
you, that I am in very great fear for you ; and I should 
never console myself if you were to be hanged. 

POUR. It is not so much the fear of death that makes 
me run away, as that it is very damaging to a gentleman to 
be hanged and that an affair like that would ruin our title 
of nobility. 34 

SBR. You are right ; they would afterwards dispute your 
title of esquire. 35 For the rest take great care, when I 
shall lead you by the hand, to walk like a woman, and to 
assume all the speech and manners of a person of quality. 

POUR. Let me manage it. I have seen people of rank. 
The only thing is, that I have a bit of a beard. 

SBR. Your beard is nothing; there are women who 
have as much as you. Come, let us see how you mean 
to set about it. (After Monsieur Pourceaugnac has imi- 
tated a woman of quality"). Good. 

POUR. Now then, my coach ! Where is my carriage ! 
Good Heavens ! how wretched it is to have people like 

84 Nobles were formerly decapitated, commoners hanged. 
35 Ecuyer, esquire, was the lowest title of nobility. 


that about one ! Will they keep me waiting the whole 
day in the street, and will my coach never come ! 

SBR! Very good. 

POUR. Hullo ! ho ! coachman, little page ! Ah ! you 
little scamp, I shall let you have a taste of the whip by- 
and-by ! Little page, page ! Where is my little page ? 
Will the little page never be found ? Will this page never 
come ? Have I not a little page left ! 

SBR. This is capital. But I notice one thing; this 
hood is not close enough : I shall go and get one that is 
a little thicker, the better to conceal your face, in case of 
some meeting. 

POUR. What will become of me in the meantime ? 

SBR. Wait for me here. I shall be with you again in 
a moment, you have only to walk about. {Monsieur de 
Pourceaugnac walks several times up and down the stage, 
always trying to imitate a woman of quality. 


IST Swiss. 36 {Not seeing Monsieur de Pourceaugnac). 
Come, make haste, mate; we must both go to the Greve, 
to look for a little at the execution of this Monsieur de 
Pourceaugnac, who has been condemned to be hanged by 
the neck. 

2ND. ( Without seeing Monsieur de Pourceaugnac). We 
must hire a window to see this execution. 

IST Swiss. They say that there is already a bran new 
gallows erected on which to hang this Pourceaugnac. 

20 Swiss. It would, indeed, be a great pleasure to see 
this Limousin hung on it. 

iST Swiss. Yes, to see him kick up his heels before all 
the world. 

20 Swiss. He is a funny fellow ; they say that he has 
been three times married. 

IST Swiss. What the devil did he want with three wives 
to himself ! one ought to have been enough for him. 

M See my observation, page 122, note 29. I give the first sen'ence in 
the original: "Allans, depletions, camerade ; lifaut allair tous deux nuts 
ala Crevepour regarter un peu chousticier sti monsiu de Pourcegnac, qui 
I' a a etc contane par ortonnance a I 'etre pendu par son cou." 


2D Swiss. {Perceiving Monsieur de Pourceaugnac). Ah ! 
good day, Miss. 

IST Swiss. What are you doing here all alone ? 

POUR. I am waiting for my servants, gentlemen 

2D Swiss. Upon my word ! she is pretty. 

POUR. Gently, gentlemen. 

IST Swiss. Will you join us, Miss, to go to the Greve ? 
We are going to see a nice little hanging. 

POUR. I would rather not. 

2D Swiss. It is a Limousin gentleman, who is to be 
hanged genteelly upon a great gallows. 

POUR. I have no wish to see it. 

IST- Swiss. There is a little breast which is nice. 

POUR. Gently! 

IST Swiss. Upon my word, I should like to sleep with 

POUR. Ah ! this is too much ! and these sorts of ob- 
scenities are not uttered to a woman of my rank. 

2D Swiss. Leave off, you ; I wish to sleep with her. 

IST Swiss. I do not choose to leave her alone. 

20 Swiss. And I wish it. 

( The two Swiss pull Monsieur de Pourceaugnac 
about in a violent manner. 

IST Swiss. I am not doing anything. 

20 Swiss. You are telling a lie. 

IST. Go away, you are telling a lie yourself. 

POUR. Help! Guard! 


POL. O. What is the matter ? What violence is this ? 
and what do you want with this lady ? Come, get away 
from this, unless you wish to be put into prison. 

IST Swiss. Go away, all right. You shall not have her. 

2D Swiss. Go away, good ; you shall not have her 

87 See Introductory Notice to Tartuffc, Vol. II. 

18 The original has archer, because the inferior police-officers formerly 
used to wear cross-bows. 



POUR. I am much obliged to you, Sir, for having freed 
me from these two insolent fellows. 

POL. O. Hey-day ! His face looks very much like the 
one that has been described to me. 

POUR. It is not I, I assure you. 

POL. O. Ah ! ah ! what does I mean . . 

POUR. I do not know. 

POL. O. Why do you say so then? 

POUR. For nothing. 

POL. O. This speech means something ; and I arrest 

POUR. Pray ! Sir, pray ! 

POL. O. No, no; to judge from your face and speech, 
you must be this Monsieur de Pourceaugnac of whom we 
are in search, and who is said to have disguised himself 
in this fashion ; you shall come to prison with us di- 

POUR. Alas ! 


SBR. (To Monsieur de Pourceaugnac). Good Heavens ! 
what means this ? 

POUR. They have recognized me. 

POL. O. Yes, yes ; I am delighted at it. 

SBR. {To the Police Officer). Ah, Sir, for my sake ! 
You know that we are friends of old standing ; I beseech 
you not to take him to prison. 

POL. O. No, no : that is impossible. 

SBR. You are a man open to reason. Is there no way 
of adjusting this matter by means of some pistoles ? 

POL. O. (To the Inferior Police Officers}. Just leave us 
for a little while. 


SBR. {To Monsieur de Pourceaugnac}. You must give 
him some money to let you go. Make haste. 


POUR. (Handing some money to Sbrigani}. Ah ! cursed 

SBR. There, Sir. 

POL. O. How much is there ? 

SBR. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, 

POL. O. No ; my orders are too binding. 

SBR. (To the Police Officer, who wants to go away}. 
Good Heavens! just wait a moment. (To Monsieur de 
Pourceaugnac}. Make haste ; give him as much more. 

POUR. But . . . 

SBR. Make haste, I tell you, and lose no time. It 
would please you much, no doubt, to be hanged. 

POUR. Ah ! (He hands more money to Sbri- 


SBR. ( To the Police Officer}. There, Sir. 

POL. O. (To Sbrigani). I shall have to fly with him; 
for there is no security for me here. Let me conduct him, 
and do not stir from this. 

SBR. I beseech you then to take great care of him. 

POL. O. I promise you not to leave him, until I have 
put him in a place of safety. 

POUR. (To Sbrigani}. Good-bye. This is the only 
honest man whom I have found in this town. 

SBR. Do lose no time. I love you so much, that I wish 
that you were already far from this. (Alone). May 
Heaven conduct you ! On my word, this is a great gull. 
But here comes . . . 


SBR. (Pretending not to see Oronte}. Ah ! what a strange 
adventure ! What sad news for a father ! Poor Oronte, 
how I pity you ! What will you say ? and how will you 
bear this mortal grief? 

ORON. What is it ? what misfortune do you prophesy 
to me? tell me. 

SBR. Ah, Sir ! this perfidious Limousin, this wretch of 
a Monsieur de Pourceaugnac abducts your daughter ! 

ORON. He abducts my daughter ! 

SBR. Yes. She has become so crazy, that she leaves 


you to follow him ; and they say that he has got a talis- 
man 8 " for making himself beloved by all women. 

ORON. Come, quick to the authorities ! Let us despatch 
the police-officers after them ! 


ERAS. {To Julia.} Come, you shall come in spite of 
yourself, and I shall place you safely again in the hands of 
your father. There, Sir, there is your daughter, whom by 
force I have dragged from the hands of the man with whom 
she was running away ; not from love for her, but solely out 
of respect for you. For, after what she has done, I can 
only despise her, and cure myself completely of the affec- 
tion which I had for her. 

ORON. Ah ! infamous girl that you are ! 

ERAS. {To Julia}. What! treat me in that manner, 
after all the marks of affection which I have given you. 
I do not blame you for having submitted to the will of your 
father ; he is prudent and judicious in everything he does ; 
t and I do not complain of him for having rejected me for 
another. If he broke the word which he had given me, 
he had no doubt his reasons for it. People made him be- 
lieve that this other was richer than myself by four or five 
thousand crowns ; and four or five thousand crowns is a 
considerable sum, and which makes it worth while to break 
one's word. But to forget in a moment all the love which 
I have shown you, to allow yourself to be captivated by 
a new comer, and to follow him in a shameless manner, 
without your father's consent, and after the crimes which 
have been imputed to him, this must be condemned by 
every one, and for this my heart cannot make any suffi- 
ciently cutting reproaches. 

JUL. Well, then ? yes. I have conceived a passion for 
him, and wished to follow him, because my father had 
chosen him as my husband, Whatever you may say to me, 
he is a very honourable man ; and all the crimes of which 
he is accused are horrible falsehoods. 

ORON. Hold your tongue ; you are an impudent jade; I 
know better than you what he is. 

w The original has un caractere. See Amphitryon. Vol. II., page 506, 
note 31. 


JUL. They are, no doubt, tricks which have been played 
upon him, and {Pointing to Eraste) it is perhaps he who 
invented this artifice to disgust you with him. 

ERAS. I ! could I be capable of such a thing ? 

JUL. Yes, you. 

ORNE. Hold your tongue, I tell you ; you are a fool. 

ERAS. No, no, do not think that I have the least desire 
to interfere with this marriage, and that it is my passion 
which has made me run after you. I have already told 
you that it is only from consideration for your father ; and 
I could not bear that an honourable man like him should 
be exposed to the shameful scandal which a step like yours 
might entail. 

ORON. I am infinitely obliged to you Mr. Eraste. 

ERAS. Good-by, Sir. I had the greatest wish in the 
world to become related to you ; I have done all that I 
could to obtain such an honour ; but I have been unfortu- 
nate, and you did not think me worthy of such favour. 
This shall not prevent me from entertaining towards you 
the feelings of esteem and veneration which your person 
compels ; and if I could not succeed in becoming your 
son-in-law, I at least can be for ever your servant. 

ORON. Stay, Mr. Eraste ; your behaviour touches my 
heart, and I give you my daughter in marriage. 

JUL. I will have no other husband than Monsieur de 

ORON. And I, I will have you accept Mr. Eraste on the 
spot. Come, your hand. 

JUL. No, I shall not do so. 

ORON. I shall box your ears. 

ERAS. No, no, Sir ; do not use violence, I beseech you. 

ORON. It is for her to obey, and I will show her that 
I am the master 

ERAS. Do you not see the love she has for that man ? 
and do you wish me to possess her person, while another 
shall possess her heart ? 

ORON. He has bewitched her, and you will see that she 
will change her opinions shortly. Give me your hand. 

JUL. I will not. . . . 

ORON. Ah ! what a noise ! Come, your hand, I tell you. 
Ah! ah! ah! 


ERAS. {To Julia}. Do not think that it is for love of 
you that I give you my hand ; I am smitten only with 
your father ; and it is he whom I marry. 

ORON. I am much obliged to you; and I add ten 
thousand crowns to the marriage portion of my daughter. 
Come, let them bring the notary to draw up the contract. 40 

ERAS. While awaiting his arrival, we may enjoy the 
entertainment of the season, and usher in the masks, whom 
the noise of Monsieur de Pourceaugnac's nuptials has at- 
tracted here from all parts of the town. 

SCENE X. A troop of Masks singing and dancing. Some 
are on balconies, others in the street, and by divers songs 
and games, try to enjoy innocent pleasures. 

A MASC. (dressed as a female gipsy.} 
Begone, begone from this spot, 
Sorrow, Grief, and Sadness; 
Come, came, Laughter and Play, 
Pleasure, Love and Tenderness; 
Let us think of nothing else but joy, 
Let pleasure be our sole aim. 


Let us think of nothing else but joy 
Let pleasure be our sole aim. 

F. GIF. To follow me all here 

Your ardour is uncommon ; 

And you are in grief 

About your love : 

Be always in love, 

It is the way to be happy. 

A MASK (dressed as a gipsy}. 
Let us love till death ; 
Reason tells us to do so. 
Alas ! what would be life 

40 It is customary to end the piece here, but to enliven it a little, M. de 
Pourccaugnac, dressed as a woman, appears in one of the boxes, makes a 
friendly gesture to Sbrigani, and recommends him to come and see him, 
if ever he goes to Limoges. This ending is traditional at the Comedie 
Franfaise, and allows the curtain to fall amidst roars of laughter. 


If people loved no more ? 
Ah ! let us rather lose life 
Than lose our love. 

BOTH (in dialogue) 
All treasures. 

F. GIF. Glory. 
M. GIF. Grandeur. 

F. GIF. The sceptres that cause such envy. 
M. GIF. All is nothing, if love does not infuse its 

F. GIF. Without love, there is no joy in life. 

The two together 

Let us always be in love, 

It is the way of being happy. 

Chorus. Let us all sing together, 

And dance, and jump, and merry be. 

A Mask {dressed as a noble Venetian) 

When for laughter we are assembled 
The wisest are those, it seems to me, 
Who play the greatest fools. 

All together 

Let us think of nothing else but joy, 
Let pleasure be our sole aim. 

First Entry of the BalUt. 

Dance of two Old Women, two Scaramouches, two Panta- 
loons, two Doctors, and two Peasants. 

Second Entry of the Ballet. 
Dance of Savages. 

Third Entry of the Ballet. 
Dance of Biscayens. 






FEBRUARY 4TH, 1670. 


ON the 4th of February 1670 was represented at Saint Germain-en- Laye, 
before the King and the whole Court, The Magnificent Lovers of which 
" his Majesty chose the subject." For this reason it was called, with the 
interludes, The Divertissement Royal. Louis XIV. danced, in the first 
interlude, the part of Neptune, and that of Apollo in the sixth ; but only 
during the first representation of the play. 1 It was never represented at 
Paris, and was printed only after Moliere's death, in the first collected 
edition of his works. It has no particular merit, as far as I can see, and 
seems to be borrowed from the same source as Corneille's Don Sancho of 

In the two plays, a man of inferior birth is in love with, and beloved by 
a princess whose hand is sought by two rivals; but Don Sancho, before 
his marriage, is discovered to be a King's son, whilst Sostrates, Moliere's 
hero, remains his own ancestor. The expenses for the machinery of this 
play were considerable ; the engineer de Vigarani received 27,092 livres, 
while 16,000 livres were spent for the entertainment and salary of Mo- 
liere's troupe and assistants for the 4th of February only. 

In a little book just published 2 I find an account of the expenses of the 
representation of Monsieur de Pourceaugnac, as given at Saint-Germain-en- 
Laye on the 6th of March, 1670, as well as of the two last representations of 
Tht Magnificent Lovers, given at the same place. Every article is mentioned 
there, even the price of the carriage which brought Moliere from Paris to 
Saint-Germain and back again ; the cost of the dresses of the danseuses ; 
the sum paid for the cravats, breeches, stockings, dancing pumps, garters, 
scarfs, ribands, gloves, wigs, beards, and even the pomatum and powder 
for the chief actors, as well as for the supernumeraries. The cost of 
printing 1700 ordinary books of the ballet is also given, as well as that of 
280 books for the King, the royal family, and their immediate followers, 
which latter libretti were in marble covers, and ornamented with 
ribands. Among the different items specified, I find one for glasses, 
bottles, bread, wine, &c. ; one for the horses' feed ; one for the carriage 
of personal luggage and musical instruments ; and even one for the door- 

1 See Vol- II., page 300, note 7. 

8 Emile Campardon, Nouvelles Pieces sur Moliere, &c , 1876, pp. 92-103. 



keepers ; the whole, certified by Louis-Marie d'Aumont de Rochebaron, 
Duke and Peer of France, First Gentleman of the Chamber of the King, 
at 16,808 livres a sols. On the 6th of September of the same year, T/ie 
Magnificent Lovers was played before the Duke of Buckingham, in a 
theatre built on purpose, and at a cost of about 9000 livres. 

Moliere was now the regular provider of Court entertainments, and of 
the plays in this volume, four were written for the special delectation of 
Louis XIV., then thirty-one years old, and at the height of his lustful and 
gluttonous appetites. The King had become at this time so infatuated 
with his ideas of royal dignity, so saturated with the nauseous flattery of 
his courtiers, so thoroughly convinced that he could do whatever he 
wished to do, that he probably thought he was really conferring a favour 
on Moliere when he chose a subject for his play. But kings are 
seldom good collaborateurs, and the Grand Monarque proved no excep- 
tion to this rule ; hence The Magnificent Lovers is perhaps the least able 
play of Moliere. 

Still it is not wholly without talent ; Clitidas is something like Moron, 
the Court fool from The Princess of Eli s (See Vol. II., page 35}, another 
comedy written by order of Louis XIV., and certainly not one of Mo- 
liere's best ; and Anaxarchus, as the astrologer, with his tricks and sham- 
Venus, with his taking money from two rivals, and promising both of 
them to favour their suits, is very amusing. Astrology had not com- 
pletely gone out of fashion, for an astrologer drew Louis XIV.'s horo- 
scope, officially, at his birth ; and about twenty years before this play had 
been represented, a certain physician Morin, who had abandoned the 
practice of medicine for that of astrology, thinking, perhaps, that there 
was less guess-work in the latter science than in the first was the hon- 
oured correspondent of the celebrated Descartes, and of many, I shall 
not say high-bom, but highly intellectual, people of the time. He lost, 
however, a great deal of his influence by predicting the death of the well- 
known philosopher Gassendi, who, however, did not die until five years 

The Divertissement Royal was acted again on the I3th and 17* of 
February, and on the 4th and 8th of March of the year 1670, and had 
the honour of being officially described in an Extraordinary Gazette. 
We shall give only the beginning of that description : 

" Let people not boast any longer about the Olympic games and the 
other amusements of the Greeks, nor about the Circuses and other specta- 
cles of the Romans. Those, which have been the best organized and the 
most brilliant, ought to lose all the reputation which history has given 
them when compared to the festivals of the first Court of the world . . . 
All grace and gallantry have been reserved for the rejoicings of a monarch 
who serves in this as an example even to the most polished princes of 
his century, and who is the first in the fine manner of these amusements, 
as he is the greatest in power and in glory ; and who, in short, does not 
understand less to honour the days of peace which he has so generously 
given to Europe, by surprising magnificences and rejoicings, than in dis- 
playing in war victories and conquests wholly marvellous. This is proved 
by many festivals which he has already given to his Court, in which noth- 
ing has been seen but what was extraordinary and worthy of being de- 
scribed for posterity ; and this has been confirmed by,this last amusement 
with which his Majesty has wished to treat his Court during this carnival, 
in the interval of the great cares which He incessantly takes for the hap- 
piness of his peoples and for the glory of his State." 


It has been said that Benserade, who had until lately written the verses 
for the ballets danced by the King. verses in which there was always 
some political, courtly, or amorous allusion, and who had abdicated his 
official Court-poet position in the month of February of the year before, 
felt rather annoyed when Moliere took his place. On having been told, 
probably before the play was represented, two lines of the third interlude, 
"And trace on the verdure the image of our songs,'' he said aloud that it 
ought to be "the image of our dancing-pumps," playing on the similarity 
between the words chansons, songs, and chaussons, dancing-pumps. 
When the verses on the King representing Neptune, in the first interlude, 
and those on the King representing the Sun, in the sixth, were read the 
courtiers, who were ignorant that Benserade had not composed these 
couplets, complimented the latter on his elegant diction ; and this gentle- 
man did not deny the impeachment, until Moliere declared that he had 
written them, to the great confusion of the discomfited pretender. 
Another rumour of the period says that Molire wished to parody Ben- 
serade's style and manner ; but this is more than doubtful, for to ridicule 
the praises bestowed on Louis XIV., and to say in a spirit of irony " that 
virtue never suffers shipwreck" with the King, would undoubtedly have 
ended seriously for our dramatist. 

It has also been mentioned that Mademoiselle de Montpensier, then 
forty years old, a niece of the King, wished to marry the Count de Lau- 
zun, and that Moliere knew of this, and endeavoured to predispose the 
minds of the courtly public by sketching the love of the high-born Prin- 
cess Eriphila for the low-born general Sostrates. This is possible ; for 
The Magnificent Rivals was played on the 4th of February 1670, and it 
was only at the end of that year that Mademoiselle de Montpensier men- 
tioned her project to the King, who gave his consent to the marriage on 
the 15th of December, and withdrew it on the i8th of the same month. 
But is it not natural to suppose that Mademoiselle de Montpensier, after 
seeing the play of MoliSre, may have plucked up courage to inform the 
Grand Monarque of her proposed espousal ? 

Wonderful to relate, nothing has been borrowed from this play by 
English dramatists, at least as far as I have been able to trace. 


The King who will have nothing but what is extraordinary 
in all that he undertakes, proposed to give his court a diversion 
made up of all those that the stage could furnish ; and, to take 
in so vast an idea, and chain together so many different things, 
His Majesty chose for the subject two rival princes, who, in 
the Vale of Tempe, where the Pythian games were to be cel- 
ebrated, vie with each other in treating a young princess and 
her mother with all the gallantries that could be thought of. 



IPHICRATES, a prince, in love with Eriphila. 

TIMOCLES, a prince, in love with Eriphila. 

SOSTRATES, a general in the army, in love with Eriphila. 

ANAXARCHUS, an astrologer. 

CLEON, his son. 

CHOREBUS, in the suite of Aristione. 

CLITIDAS, a court jester, among the attendants of Eriphila* 

ARISTIONE, a princess, mother to Eriphila. 

ERIPHILA, a princess, her daughter. 

CLEONICE, her confidante. 

A SHAM VENUS, in concert with Anaxarchus. 


First Interlude. 

DEITIES (dancing). 

Second Interlude. 

Third Interlude. 

'This part was played by Moliere. In the inventory taken after his 
death, we find " a theatrical classical cuirass (tonnelet), a chemisette, a 
skirt, a pair of drawers and cuishes ; the above cuirass of green moire, or- 
namented with two kinds of lace,.gold and silver ; the chemisette of velvet 
with a gold ground ; the shoes, garters, stockings, scallops, ruff and ruffles, 
the whole ornamented with fine silver." 




TIRCIS, a shepherd, in love 

with Caliste. 
LYCASTE, a shepherd, his 

MENANDER, a shepherd, his 

FIRST SATYR, in love with 


SECOND SATYR, in love with 

Fourth Interlude. 

PHILINTE, a shepherd. 


CALISTE, a shepherdess. 
CLIMENE, a shepherdess. 


Fifth Interlude. 

Sixth Interlude. 

The priestess, two singing sacrificers, six ministers of the 
sacrifice {carrying hatchets, dancing), chorus of people, 
six acrobats (on wooden horses), four slave leaders 
(dancing), eight dancing slaves; four men in Greek 
dresses, four women in Greek dresses, a herald, six trum- 
teters, a cup-bearer, Apollo, attendants on Apollo, 





The scene opens with the pleasant sound of a quantity of 
instruments; and represents at first a sea bordered on each 
side by four large rocks. On the summit of each is a River- 
god leaning upon the insignia of these kinds of deities. At 
the foot of these rocks are twelve Tritons on each side; and 
in the middle of the sea, four Cupids on dolphins, and behind 
them the god Eolus, floating on a small cloud above the 
"waves. Eolus commands the winds to withdraw; and 
-while the four Cupids, twelve Tritons, and eight River-gods 
answer him, the sea becomes calm, and an island rises from 
the waves: Eight fishermen come out of the sea with 
mother of pearl and branches of coral in their hands, and, 
after a charming dance, seat themselves each on a rock above 
a River-god. The musical chorus announces the advent of 
Neptune; and while this god is dancing with his suite, the 
fishermen^ Tritons, and River-gods accompany his steps 
with various movements, and the clattering of the pearl 
shells. The whole of this spectacle is a splendid compliment 
paid by one of the princes to the princesses during their 
maritime excitrsion. 



First Entry of the Ballet. 

Neptune and Six Sea-gods. 

Second Entry of the Ballet. 

Eight Coral Fishers. 


Recital of Eolus. 

Ye winds, who trouble the fairest days, 
Retire into your deepest grottos ; 
And leave the Cupids and the Zephyrs 
To reign over the waves. 

A Triton. 

What charming eyes have penetrated to our moist abodes? 
Come, come, ye Tritons ; hide yourselves, ye Nereids. 

All the Tritons. 

Let us all advance to meet these divinities; 

And to their charms let us render homage by our songs. 

A Cupid. 
Ah ! How fair are these princesses ! 

Another- Cupid. 
What hearts could withstand them ? 

Another Cupid. 

The fairest of immortals, * 

Our mother has less charms than they. 


Let us all advance to meet these divinities; 

And to their charms let us render homage by our songs. 

A Triton. 

What noble spectacle now meets our eyes? 
Neptune, the great god Neptune, with his court, 
Comes with his august presence 
To shed honour on this charming spot. 



Let us our songs increase 
And make the air resound 
With our rejoicings. 

Verses for the king, representing Neptune. 

Heaven, among the most renowned, 

Has given me a considerable rank; 

And in vesting me with sway over the azure waves, 

Renders my power feared by the whole universe. 

There is no land, if it look well at me, 

But what must tremble at my spreading over it ; 

No state but what at any moment I could inundate 

With the impetuous waves which my power commands. 

Nothing could stay their fierce overflow ; 
And if a threefold dyke opposes their force, 
We> would see them break down the obstacle, 
And easily clear for themselves a way anywhere. 

But I know how to curb the fury of these waves 
By the wise equity of the power I wield, 
And to maintain everywhere, to the sailors' delight, 
The sweet liberties of a peaceful commerce 

Sometimes there are shoals found in my States ; 

We perceive that some vessels are lost there by storms ; 

But against my power there is no murmuring, 

And with me virtue never suffers shipwreck.* 

For M. Le Grand, representing a sea-god. 

The empire in which we live is fertile in treasures. 
All mortals in crowds rush to its banks. 
And, to make in a short time a very great fortune, 
We need nothing but the favour of Neptune. 

4 It has been said that our author parodied in the above verses the way 
in which Benserade wrote his poetic flatteries, but we doubt if Moliere 
would have dared to have taken this liberty. See Introductory Notice. 


For M. the Marquis De Villeroi, representing a sea-god. 

On the word of this god of the watery empire, 
We may safely embark with all assurance. 
The waves themselves may inconstant be, 
Not so Neptune, he is ever constant. 

For M. the Marquis De Rassent, representing a sea-god. 

Journey on this sea with indomitable zeal; 
These are the means to curry favour with Neptune. 



CLIT. (Aside). He is buried in thought. 

Sos. (Believing himself alone}. No, Sostrates, I see no- 
thing to which you can have recourse, and your ills are of 
such a nature as to leave you no hope of getting rid of 

CLIT. (Aside). He argues with himself. 

Sos. (Believing himself alone). Alas ! 

CLIT. (Aside). These are sighs that mean something, 
and my conjectures may become true. 

Sos. (Believing himself alone). On what fancies, tell me, 
could you build any hope, and what else stares you in the 
face but a horrible, protracted and wretched life, and an- 
noyances to be ended only by death? 

CLIT. (Aside). This head is more confused than my own. 

Sos. (Believing himself alone} Ah ! my heart ! ah ! my 
heart ! to what have you brought me ? 

CLIT. Your servant, my lord Sostrates. 

Sos. Where go you, Clitidas ? 

CLIT. But you rather, what are you doing here? and 
what secret melancholy, what sombre humour, if it please 
you, retains you in these woods, while every one is rushing 
to the magnificent festival with which the love of prince 
Iphicrates is regaling the maritime excursion of the prin- 
cesses ; while they are receiving marvellous entertainments 
of music and dancing, and while even the rocks and the 


waves deck themselves with divinities to do honour to their 
charms ? 

Sos. Without seeing it, I can imagine this magnificence 
well enough ; and, as a rule, so many people are anxious 
to add to the crowds at these festivals, that I have thought 
it right not to augment the number of nuisances. 

CLIT. You know well enough that your presence never 
spoils anything, and that you are never one too many, no 
matter where you go. Your countenance is welcome every- 
where ; and it is not one of these ill-favoured countenan- 
ces which are never well received by sovereign looks. 
You stand equally well with the two princesses ; and the 
mother and the daughter show you sufficiently the esteem 
in which they hold you, to prevent all dread of your 
tiring their sight ; and, in short, it is not that fear which 
has kept you back. 

Sos. I confess that I have no great natural curiosity 
for these kind of things. 

CLIT. Good Heavens ! even if one had no curiosity for 
these things, one has always somewhere to go where one 
finds everybody else ; and, whatever you may say, people 
do not remain all alone, during a festival dreaming 
among the trees, as you do, without having something on 
their minds that troubles them. 

Sos. What should I have on my mind? 

CLIT. Ay, I do not know where it comes from ; but 
there is a scent of love somewhere here. It is not I. Ah ! 
upon my word, it is you. 

Sos. How foolish you are, Clitidas ! 

CLIT. I am not foolish. You are in love ; I have a 
delicate nose, and I smelt it directly. 

Sos On what do you found this idea ? 

CLIT. On what ? You would be very much surprised 
if I told you, besides, with whom you are in love. 

Sos. I? 

CLIT. Yes. I wager that I shall guess on the spot the 
one whom you love. I have my secrets as well as our 
astrologer, with whom the princess Aristione is so taken 
up; and, if he be possessed of the science of reading in 
the stars the fate of men, I possess the one of being able 
to read in the eyes the name of the person with whom one 


is in love. Hold up your head a little, and open your 
eyes. E, making a syllable by itself; 5 e, r, i, eri; p, h, 
i, phi; 1, a, la; Eriphila. You are in love with the 
princess Eriphila. 

Sos. Ah ! Clitidas, I confess that I cannot conceal my 
trouble, and you strike me with a thunderbolt. 

CLIT. Do you see how clever I am ! 

Sos. Alas ! if, by some accident, you have been able 
to discover the secret of my heart, I beseech you at least 
not to reveal it to any one, and above all to keep it con- 
cealed from the fair princess whose name you have just 

CLIT. And, seriously speaking, if I have been able from 
your actions for some time to find out the passion which 
you wish to keep secret, do you think that the princess 
Eriphila could have been so obtuse as not to perceive it? 
The fair, believe me, are always the most clear-sighted in 
discovering the passions which they inspire ; and the lan- 
guage of the eyes and of sighs is better understood than 
any other by the one to whom it is addressed. 

Sos. Let us leave her, Clitidas, let us leave her to per- 
ceive, if she can, in my sighs and looks, the passion with 
which her charms have inspired me ; but let us take great 
care that she never find it out in any other way. 

CLIT. And what do you dread ? Is it possible that this 
same Sostrates, who feared neither Brennus nor all the 
Gauls, and whose arm has so gloriously contributed to rid 
us of that deluge of barbarians which ravaged Greece ; is 
it possible, I say, that a man so dauntless in war can be 
so timid in love, and that I see him tremble at the very 
mention that he does love ? 

Sos. Ah ! Clitidas, I tremble with reason ; and all the 
Gauls in the world are much less to be dreaded than two 
beautiful eyes full of charms. 

CLIT. I am not of that opinion ; and I know well, as 
far as I am concerned, that one single Gaul, sword in 
hand, would make me tremble more than fifty beautiful 
eyes, though they were altogether the most charming in 

6 In the original per soi. being an old formula for " making a syllable by 
itself. 1 ' 


the world. But, just tell me, what do you intend to 

Sos. To die without declaring my passion. 

CLIT. That is a fair prospect ! Come, come, you are 
jesting ; a little boldness always succeeds with lovers : 
the bashful only lose in the game of love ; and I would 
declare my passion to a goddess, if I fell in love with her. 

Sos. Too many things, alas ! condemn my passion to 
eternal silence. 

CUT. Eh ! what ? 

Sos. The humbleness of my condition, with which it 
pleases Heaven to abate the ambition of my love ; the 
rank of the princess, which puts between her and my de- 
sires a distance so vexatious ; the rivalry of two princes 
supported by all the great titles, which can sustain the 
pretensions of their affection ; of two princes disputing 
with each other at every moment, through many thousand 
splendours, the glory of winning her, and whose love we 
expect daily to be decided by her choice ; but more than 
all, Clitidas, that inviolable respect with which her beau- 
tiful eyes subjugate all the violence of my passion. 

CLIT. Respect very often does not lay us under the 
many obligations that love does ; and unless I am very 
much mistaken, the young princess is aware of your affec- 
tion, and is not insensible to it. 

Sos. Ah ! Do not endeavour to flatter out of pity the 
heart of a poor wretch. 

CLIT. My conjecture is well founded I see her post- 
pone the choice of a husband for a long time, and I wish 
to find out something of this little matter. You know 
that I am somewhat in favour with her, that I have free 
access to her, and that by giving myself a deal of trouble, 
I have acquired the privilege of mixing in the conversa- 
tion, and of speaking at random upon all subjects. Some- 
times it does not succeed, but again at times it does. 
Let me manage it ; I am one of your friends ; people of 
merit gain my heart, and I shall watch my time to enter- 
tain the princess with . . . 

Sos. Ah ! for pity's sake, with whatever kindness my 
misfortune may inspire you, be very careful not to tell her 
anything of my passion. I would rather die than lay myself 


open to be accused by her of the slightest impertinence ; and 
this profound respect with which her divine charms . . . 
CLIT. Silence, here comes everyone. 


ARIS. {To Iphicrates). Prince, I cannot get tired of 
saying so, that there has never been a spectacle in the 
universe to vie in magnificence with the one which you have 
just given us. This festival has had some decorations which, 
without doubt, surpass everything which one could see ; 
and it has shown us something so noble, so grand, and 
so majestic, that Heaven itself could no farther go ; and 
I can say with confidence that there is nothing in the 
universe that could equal it. 

TIM. They are decorations with which we could not 
expect every vessel to be adorned ; and I have reason to 
fear, Madam, for the simplicity of the little entertainment 
which I am preparing for you in the wood of Diana. 

ARIS. I think that we shall see nothing there but what 
is very agreeable ; and we must certainly admit that the 
country ought to appear beautiful to us, and that we have 
had no time to become weary in this charming spot, 
which all the poets have celebrated under the name of 
Tempe. For, after all, not to speak of the pleasures of the 
chase which we can enjoy at any hour, and of the solemnity 
of the Pythian games which are about to be celebrated, you 
both take care to glut us with all the entertainments that 
can charm the most melancholy grief. How is it Sostrates 
that we did not see you at our maritime excursion ? 

Sos. Madam, a slight indisposition prevented me from 
going there. 

IPHIC. Sostrates is one of those men, Madam, who 
think it unbecoming to be curious like others ; and it is 
nice to affect not to go where everyone goes. 

Sos. My Lord, affectation has no share whatever in 
aught that I do ; and, without wishing to compliment you, 
there were things at this entertainment which could have 
attracted me, if some other cause had not detained me. 

ARIS. And has Clitidas seen it all ? 

CLIT. Yes', Madam, but from the banks. 


ARTS. And why from the banks? 

CLIT. Really, Madam, I was afraid of one of those acci- 
dents which generally occur in these confusions. Last 
night I dreamt of dead fishes and broken eggs; 6 and I 
have gleaned from Anaxarchus that broken eggs and dead 
fishes mean mishap. 

ANAX. I always remark one thing ; that Clitidas would 
have nothing to say, if he did not speak of me. 

CLIT. It is because there are so many things to say of 
you that one cannot speak enough of them. 

ANAX. You might choose some different subjects of 
conversation, since I have asked you to do so. 

CLIT. But how can I ? Do not you say that destiny is 
stronger than everything? and if it be written in the 
stars that I should be inclined to speak of you, how would 
you have me resist my fate? 

ANAX. With all due respect to you, Madam, there is 
something that is very annoying at your court, that every 
one there takes the liberty of speaking, and that the most 
honourable man is exposed to the raillery of the first spite- 
ful wag whom he meets. 

CLIT. I thank you for the compliment. 

ARIS. (T0 Anaxarchus). How foolish of you to fret 
yourself about what he says. 

CLIT. With every respect for you, Madam, there is one 
thing that astonishes me in astrology : how people who 
know all the secrets of the gods, and who possess the 
knowledge to place themselves above all men, should be 
in need of paying court, and of asking for something. 

ANAX. You ought to earn your money a little better, 
and utter some wittier jokes to this lady. 

CLIT. Upon my word, one gives them as one can. It is 
very easy for you to speak thus ; and the trade of a wit is 
not like that of an astrologer: to tell lies well, and to tell 
jokes well are two very different things; and it is far 
easier to deceive people than to make them laugh. 

ARIS. Eh ! what does this mean ? 

CLIT. (Speaking to himself}. Peace, impertinent fellow 

6 See The Love-Tiff, Vol. I., page 127, note 23, about the dreaming of 
''broken eggs." 


that you are ! do not you know that astrology is an affair 
of State, and that you must not touch upon that point ? 
I have told you so several times, you are too forward, and 
you are taking certain liberties which will play you a 
scurvy trick, I warrant you. You will find that one of 
these days you will be kicked out, and that you will be 
bundled off like a rogue. Hold your tongue if you be 

ARIS. Where is my daughter ? 

TIM. She has strolled away, Madam ; and I offered her 
my arm, which she refused to accept. 

ARIS. Princes, since the affection which you have for 
Eriphila has been content to submit itself to the laws 
which it has been my pleasure to impose upon you ; since 
I have been able to obtain from you that you should be 
rivals without becoming enemies, and that with full sub- 
mission to the sentiments of my daughter you are await- 
ing a choice in which I have left her sole mistress, open 
to me, both of you, the recesses of your minds, and tell 
me truly what progress you think you have made on her 

TIM. Madam, I will not flatter myself. I have done all 
I could to move the heart of the princess Eriphila, and I 
have set about it, I believe, in every tender way that a 
lover could adopt. I have rendered her the submissive 
homage of my affection ; I have shown assiduity ; I have 
paid my attentions every day ; I have ordered my passion 
to be sung to her with the most melting voices, and have 
given it expression in verses composed for me by the most 
delicate of pens ; I have complained of my martyrdom in 
the most impassioned terms ; I have made my eyes as well 
as my lips speak of the despair of my love ; I have uttered 
languishing sighs at her feet ; I have even shed tears ; but 
all that was useless, and I am not aware that in her heart 
she reciprocates my love. 

ARIS. And you, prince? 

IPH. As for me, Madam, knowing her indifference, and 
the little value which she sets upon the attentions paid to 
her, I did not wish to waste complaints, sighs, or tears 
upon her. I know that she is entirely submissive to your 
wishes, and that it is from your hand alone that she will 


accept a husband ; thus, it is only to you that I address 
myself to obtain her ; to you rather than to her that I 
offer all my attentions and all my homage. And would to 
Heaven, Madam, that you could have resolved to take her 
place ; that you had been willing to enjoy the conquests 
which you make for her, and to receive for yourself the 
affection which you refer to her ! 

ARIS. Prince, the compliment is that of a skilful lover, 
and you have heard it said that one must cajole the 
mothers in order to obtain the daughters ; but, in this 
case, unfortunately, all that becomes of no use, and I have 
bound myself to leave the choice entirely to the inclina- 
tion of my daughter. 

IPH. With whatever power you may have invested her 
for this choice, it is not a compliment, Madam, that I have 
uttered to you. I pretend to the princess Eriphila only 
because she is of your blood ; I find her charming through 
everything which she derives from you, and it is you 
whom I adore in her. 

ARIS. That is very pretty. 

IPH. Yes, Madam, every one sees in you attractions and 
charms, which I ... 

ARIS. Pray, prince, let us leave those charms and at- 
tractions; you know that they are words which I eliminate 
from the compliments which people wish to pay me. I 
allow folks to praise my sincerity ; to say that I am a 
worthy princess, that I have a good word for everybody, a 
warm feeling for my friends, and esteem for merit and 
virtue ; I can digest all that, but as for charms and attrac- 
tions, I am very glad that they are not served up to me ; 
and whatever truth there may be found in them, one must 
have some scruple in tasting praises, when one is mother 
to a daughter like mine. 

IPH. Ah ! Madam, it is you who will play the mother 
in spite of all the world ; there is not an eye that does not 
oppose itself to it ; and if you wished it, the princess 
Eriphila might pass for your sister. 

ARIS. Good Heavens! prince, I have no taste for all 
this nonsense which most women like: I wish to be a 
mother because I am one, and it would be in vain not to 
wish it. This title b.3s nothing to shock me, since, with 


my own consent, I have exposed myself to receive it. 
This is a weakness of our sex, from which, thank Heaven, 
I am exempt ; and I do not trouble myself about these 
grand disputes about age, so common with many foolish 
women. Let us come back to our conversation. Is it 
possible that up till now you have been unable to find out 
which way the inclination of Eriphila tends ? 

IPH. It is a mystery to me. 

TIM. And to me an impenetrable one. 

ARIS. Modesty perhaps hinders her from explaining 
herself to you and to me. Let us make use of some one 
else to find out the secret of her heart. Sostrates, do this 
for me, and render this good office to these princes, to 
discover skilfully from my daughter towards which of the 
two her feelings may turn. 

Sos. Madam, you have a hundred persons at your court 
on whom you might better bestow the honour of such a 
task; and I feel myself ill-fitted to execute what you 
desire of me. 

ARIS. Your merit, Sostrates, is not confined to the 
employment of war only ; you have brain, aptitude, skill ; 
and my daughter sets store by you. 

Sos. Some one better than I, Madam . . . 

ARIS. No, no ; your refusal is useless. 

Sos. Since it is your wish, Madam, I must obey; but I 
swear to you that, in all your court, you could not have 
chosen any one who would not have been able to acquit 
himself far better than I can of such a commission. 

ARIS. You are too modest ; and you will always acquit 
yourself well of whatever you may be charged with. 
Gently find out the sentiments of Eriphila, and make her 
remember that she is to go in good time to the wood of 


IPH. {To Sostrates}. Rest assured that I share in the 
esteem which the princess shows you. 

TIM. (To Sostrates.^) Rest assured that I am delighted 
at the choice that has been made of you. 

IPH. Now you are in a position to serve your friends. 


TIM. You have now the means of rendering good service 
to the people whom it may please you to serve. 

IPH. I do not commend my interests to you. 

TIM. I do not ask you to speak for me. 

Sos. It would be useless, gentlemen. I should be wrong 
to exceed my orders ; and you will not think it amiss if I 
speak neither for the one nor the other. 

IPH. I leave you to do as you please. 

TIM. You shall act as you judge best. 


IPH. (Aside to Clitidas). Will Clitidas be kind enough 
to remember that he is one of my friends ; I recommend 
him always to forward my interests with his mistress 
against those of my rival. 

CLIT. (Aside to Iphicrates). Let me manage it. There 
is no comparison between you and him ! and he is a 
finely-built prince to dispute her with you. 

IPH. (Aside to Clitidas). I shall remember this service. 


TIM. My rival pays his court to Clitidas ; but Clitidas 
knows well that he has promised me to support the pre- 
tensions of my love. 

CLIT. Assuredly; and he is but jesting to think to gain 
the day over you. A nice specimen of a prince he is, com- 
pared with you ! 

TIM. There is nothing which I could refuse to Clitidas. 

CLIT. (Alone). Sweet words on all sides ! Here comes 
the princess; I shall watch my opportunity of speaking 
to her. 


CLE. People will think it strange, Madam, that you 
have thus strolled away from every one. 

ERI. Ah ! how agreeable a little solitude sometimes is to 
persons like us, who are always pestered with so many peo- 
ple ! and how sweet it is, after a thousand impertinent 
conversations to commune with one's own thoughts ! Let 
me walk here all alone. 



CLE. Would you not like, Madam, to see a little speci- 
men of the agility of these admirable personages, who wish 
to enter your service. They are people who, by their 
steps, their gestures and movements, express everything to 
the eye ; and we call them pantomimists ? I have trem- 
bled to say this word to you ; 7 and there are people in your 
court who would not forgive me for it. 

ERI. You look to me much, Cleonice, as if you intended 
to treat me here to an annoying entertainment ; for, thank 
Heaven, you always wish to produce indiscriminately every- 
thing that is offered to you ; and yours is an affability that 
rejects nothing ; thus it is to you alone we see that the 
Muses, when in want, have recourse ; you are the great 
patroness of unrecognized merit ; and everything in the 
shape of indigent virtue in the world steps down at your 

CLE. If you have no wish to'see them, Madam, you have 
only to leave them where they are. 

ERI. No, no ; let us see them : let them come. 

CLE. But their dance may be bad, perhaps, Madam. 

ERI. Bad or not, we must see it. It would be only post- 
poning the thing with you ; and it is better to have done 
with it. 

CLE. It will be only an ordinary dance now; Madam, 
another time . . . 

ERI. No preamble ; Cleonice, let them dance. 


The confidante of the young Princess calls forth three 
dancers, under the name of pantomimists, that is, who ex- 
press all sorts of things by their movements. The Princess 
sees them dance, and receives them into her service. 

Entry of the Ballet 
of the three Pantomimists. 

7 A proof that the art and the word were new in France ; pantomime, 
meaning ' pantomime/' was introduced much later. 




ERI. Very admirable, indeed. I do not think that peo- 
ple could dance better, and I am very glad to have them 
belonging to me. 

CLE. And I, Madam, am very glad that you have seen 
that I have not such bad taste as you thought. 

ERI. Do not boast too much; you will not be long in 
giving me an opportunity of vindicating my opinion. 
Leave me now. 


CLE. ( Coming to meet Clitidas). I warn you, Clitidas, 
that the princess wishes to be alone. 

CLIT. Let me manage it, I know my court etiquette well 


CLIT. (Singing). La, la, la, la. Pretending to be sur- 
prised at seeing EriphilaS) Ah! 

ERI. (To Clitidas, who makes a show of going). Clitidas! 

CLIT. I did not see you there madam. 

ERI. Come here. Where do you come from? 

CLIT. I have just left the princess, your mother, who is 
going towards the temple of Apollo, accompanied by a 
great many people. 

ERI. Do you not find that these spots are the most 
charming in the world ? 

CLIT. Assuredly. The princes, your lovers, were there. 

ERI. The stream Peneus has some agreeable windings 

CLIT. Very agreeable. Sostrates was also there. 

ERI. How is it that he did not come to the excursion? 

CLIT. He has something on his mind which prevents 
him from taking pleasure in all these beautiful entertain- 
ments. He wishes to speak to me about it ; but you have 
so expressly forbidden me to charge myself with any affair 
for you, that I did not wish to listen to him, and I told him 
at once that I had no time to hear him. 


ERI. You were wrong to tell him so, and you ought to 
have listened to him. 

CLIT. I told him at first that I had no time to listen, 
but I gave him a hearing afterwards. 

ERI. You have done well. 

CLIT. Truth to tell, he is a man who pleases, a man 
such as I should like men to be, not assuming boisterous 
manners and provoking tone of voice ; prudent and care- 
ful in all things, never speaking but to the point, not too 
prompt in deciding, not at all annoying by exaggeration ; 
and, whatever beautiful verses our poets may recite to him, 
I have never heard him say, There ! that is more beautiful 
than anything Homer ever wrote. In short, he is a man 
for whom I feel some inclination ; and, were I a princess, 
he would not be unhappy. 

ERI. He is a man of great merit, no doubt. But of 
what did he speak to you ? 

CLIT. He asked me whether you showed much pleasure 
at the magnificent entertainment which they have given 
you, spoke of you with greatest possible transports, 
lauded you to the' skies, and gave you all the praises that 
one could give to the most accomplished princess on earth, 
intermixing them with sundry sighs that told more than 
he intended. In short, by dint of turning him on all 
sides, and of urging him to tell the cause of that profound 
melancholy which is noticed by the whole court, he has 
been obliged to acknowledge to me that he is in love. 

ERI. What, in love ! what boldness is his ! He is a 
hare-brained fellow whom I will never see again in my 

CLIT. Of what do you complain, Madam? 

ERI. To have the audacity to love me? and what is more, 
to have the audacity to say so ! 

CLIT. It is not you with whom he is in love, Madam. 

ERI. It is not I ? 

CLIT. No, Madam ; he respects you too much for that, 
and is too sensible to think of it. 

ERI. And with whom then, Clitidas ? 

CLIT. With one of your ladies-in-waiting, young Arsinoe. 8 

8 In the first Scene of the fourth Act of the Princess of E Its (see Vol. 
II., p. 58), there is a similar ruse employed by the princess. 


ERI. Has she so many charms that he could find no one 
worthier of his love than she? 

CLIT. He loves her madly, and beseeches you to honour 
his flame with your protection. 

ERI. I? 

CLIT. No, no, Madam. I see that the affair does not 
please you. Your anger has obliged me to use this subter- 
fuge ; and, to tell you the truth, it is you whom he loves 
to madness. 

ERI. You are an insolent fellow to come thus to surprise 
my feelings. Come, leave this; you would read into 
peoples' thoughts, penetrate into the secrets of a princess' 
heart ! Out of my sight, and let me never set eyes upon 
you again, Clitidas. 

CLIT. Madam ? 

ERI. Come here ; I forgive you this affair. 

CLIT. You are too kind, Madam . . . 

ERI. But on condition mind well what I say to you 
that you open your lips to no one, at the peril of your life. 

CLIT. That is sufficient. 

ERI. Sostrates has told you then that he loved me ? 

CLIT. No, Madam. I must tell you the truth. I have 
wrung from his heart, by surprise, a secret which he wishes 
to hide from all the world, and with which, he says, he is 
resolved to die. He is in despair at the subtle theft which 
I have committed ; and very far from charging me to dis- 
cover it to you, he has besought me, with all the fervent 
prayers one could utter, to reveal nothing of it to you ; and 
what I have said to you just now is treason against him. 

ERI. So much the better ! it is by his respect only that 
he can please me ; and, if he were bold enough to declare 
his love to me, he would forever lose both my presence and 
my esteem. 

CLIT. Have no fear, Madam, that ... . 

ERI. Here he comes. Remember, at least, if you are 
wise, what I have forbidden you. 

CLIT. That is already done, Madam. One must not be 
an indiscreet courtier. 

Sos. I have an excuse, Madam, for daring to disturb 


your solitude ; and I have received from the princess, your 
mother, a commission which authorizes the liberty which 
I now take. 

ERI. What commission, Sostrates? 

Sos. This one, Madam, to endeavour to learn from you 
towards which of the two princes your heart inclines. 

ERI. The princess, my mother, shows a judicious spirit 
in the choice which she has made of you for such a task. 
This commission, Sostrates, has, no doubt, been very agree- 
able to you, and you have accepted it with great joy ? 

Sos. I have accepted it, Madam, through the necessity 
which my duty imposes upon me to obey ; and if the prin- 
cess would have been satisfied with my excuses, she would 
have honoured some one else with this commission. 

ERI. What reason, Sostrates, obliged you to refuse it ? 

Sos. The fear, Madam, of acquitting myself ill in it. 

ERI. Do you think that I do not esteem you sufficiently 
well to open my heart to you, and to give you all the in- 
formation that you could wish about these two princes? 

Sos. I desire none for myself upon the subject, Madam ; 
and I ask for no other than that which you may deem 
yourself obliged to accord to the commands which bring 
me here. 

ERI. Till now, I have avoided explaining myself, and 
the princess, my mother, has been kind enough always to 
allow me to postpone the choice which is to bind me ; but 
I should be very glad to show the world that I would do 
something for the love of you ; and if you press me to it, 
I shall pronounce the verdict for which they have already 
been waiting so long. 

Sos. It is a matter, Madam, in which you shall not be 
troubled by me ; and I could not make up my mind to 
press a princess who so well knows what she has to do. 

ERI. But that is what the princess my mother expects 
from you. 

Sos. Have I not told her also that I should but ill acquit 
myself of this commission? 

ERI. Come now, Sostrates, people like you have always 
far-seeing eyes ; and I think that there must be few things 
that escape yours. Have your eyes not been able to dis- 
cover that which everybody is so much concerned about ! 


and have they not given you some small glimpse of the 
inclination of my heart ? You see the attentions that are 
paid to me, the homage shown to me. Upon which of the 
two princes, think you, do I look with the most favourable 

Sos. The doubts which one forms upon these sorts of 
matters are generally regulated by the interest which one 
takes in them. 

ERI. For which of the two, Sostrates, would you incline? 
Which is the one, tell me, whom you would wish me to 

Sos. Ah ! Madam, not my wishes, but your inclination 
shall decide the matter. 

ERI. But if I consulted you upon this choice ? 

Sos. If you consulted me, I should be very much at a loss. 

ERI. Could not you say, which of the two seems to you 
the most worthy of this preference ? 

Sos. If from my own eyes I were to judge, there would 
be no one worthy of this honour. All the princes of the 
world are not good enough to aspire to you; the gods 
only might pretend to do so ; and you should accept from 
men only incense and sacrifice. 

ERI. That is very kind, and you are one of my friends: 
but I wish you to tell me for which-of the two you feel the 
greatest inclination, which is the one whom you would 
place first in the rank of your friends. 9 


CHOR. Madam, here is the princess who comes hither 
to take you to the wood of Diana. 

Sos. (Aside}. Alas ! how seasonably you come in, little 
boy ! 


ARIS. You have been asked for, daughter ; and there 
are some people whom your absence frets very much. 

' It has been well said that princesses are condemned in friendship as 
well as in love, to make overtures, and that the respect which surrounds 
them often obliges the most discreet and the most proud to make ad- 
vances, which other ladies would not dare to do. See, in confirmation of 
this, the Introductory Notice to this play. 


ERI. I think, Madam, that I have been asked for out 
of compliment ; and that people do not fret so much as 
you say. 

ARIS. There is such a series of entertainments here 
given for our sakes, that all our time is occupied ; and 
we have not a moment to lose, if we wish to enjoy them 
all. Let us quickly enter the wood, and see what awaits 
us there. This is the most charming spot in the world ; 
let us take our places quickly. 


The stage represents a forest to which the princess has 
been invited. A nymph does the honours, singing; and to 
amuse them, a small musical comedy is played, the subject 
of which is as follows : A shepherd complains to t'jo others, 
his friends, of the coldness of her whom he loves; the two 
friends console him; at that moment the beloved shepherdess 
appears, and the three retire to observe her. After a plain- 
tive love ditty, she reclines on the turf, and abandons herself 
to slumber. The lover makes his two friends approach to 
contemplate the charms of his shepherdess, and invokes all 
things to contribute to her rest. The shepherdess, on waking, 
finds her swain at her feet, complains of his persecution ; 
but, taking his constancy into consideration, grants to him 
what he wishes, and consents to be beloved by him, in the 
presence of* the two shepherd friends . Upon this two satyrs 
arrive, upbraid her with her change of affection, and 
feeling the disgrace into which they have fallen, seek their 
consolation in wine. 


The Nymph of the Vale of Tempe, Tircis, Lycaste, 
Menander, Caliste, Two Satyrs. 


The Nymph of Tempe, alone. 

Come, great princess, with all your charms, 
Come view the innocent delights 


Which our wilderness presents to you; 

Do not seek here the splendour of the court festivals ; 

Nothing but love is felt in these spots, 

Love is the sole burden of our songs. 

SCENE I. TIRCIS, alone. 

You sing in your leafy retreat, 

Sweet nightingales replete with love ; 

And with your tender strains 

You awake by turns 

The echoes of these groves. 

Alas ! ye little birds, alas ! 

Had you my griefs, you would not sing. 


LYC. Eh, what ! ever languishing, sombre and cast 

MEN. Eh, what ! to tears, as always, wed? 

TIRC. Ever adorning Caliste, 
And ever unhappy. 

LYC. Then overcome, overcome, ye shepherd, the grief 
that haunts you. 

TIRC. Alas ! how can I, alas ! 

MEN. Make, make an effort for yourself. 

TIRC. Alas ! how can I, when the evil is too great ? 

LYC. The evil will find its remedy. 

TIRC. I shall not be cured except through death. 

LYC. & MEN. Ah ! Tyrcis ! 

TIRC. Ah ! shepherds ! 

LYC. & MEN. Control your feelings more. 

TIRC. Nothing can come to my aid. 

LYC. & MEN. It is giving way too much, too much. 

TIRC. It is suffering too much, too much. 

LYC. & MEN. What weakness ! 

TIRC. What martyrdom ! 

LYC. & MEN. You must take courage. 

TIRC. Rather let me die. 

LYC. There is no shepherdess 

So cold and so severe, 

But what the pressing ardour 


Of a heart that perseveres, 

Can overcome her coldness. 
MEN. There are, in these affairs 

Of amorous mystery, 

Certain little moments 

In which the most severe change, 

And make lovers happy. 
TIRC. I behold the cruel one 

Bending her steps towards this spot. 

Let us take care not to be seen by her ; 

For, alas ! the ungrateful one 

Would not then come hither. 


Ah, how on our hearts 

The cruel honour's law 

Exercises merciless sway ! 

For Tircis I show nought but coldness ; 

And all the while, too sensible to his poignant grief, 

I sigh in secret over his languor, 

And would like to relieve his martyrdom. 

To you alone I breathe this much, 

Ye trees, do not repeat the words, 

Since Heaven has been pleased to create 

Within us hearts which love can kindle, 

What pitiless rigour 

Forces us to arm ourselves against his sweetest darts! 

And why, without aught to be blamed, 

Can we not love 

What we find loveable ? 

Alas ! how happy are ye, 

Ye guileless beasts, to live without restraint, 

And to be able to follow without fear 

The sweet transports of your amorous hearts ! 

Alas ! ye little birds, how happy are you 

To feel no restraint, 

And to be able to follow without fear 

The sweet transports of your amorous hearts ! 

But slumber on my eyelids 

Sheds the agreeable coolness of its poppies ; 


I yield to it with all my heart ; 

There is no severe law 

Forbidding our senses to taste its sweetness. 


TIRC. Towards my charming foe 

Let us without noise bend our steps, 
Yet taking care not to awaken 
Her coldness, which now slumbers. 
ALL THREE. Sleep on, sleep on, fair eyes, lovely con- 
querors ; 
And taste that peace which you wrest 

from all hearts ; 
Sleep on, sleep on, fair eyes. 
TIRC. Now silence keep, ye little birds ; 

Ye winds, stir nought around ; 
Ye stream, run sweetly on : 
For Caliste is slumbering. 

ALL THREE. Sleep on, sleep on, fair eyes, lovely con- 
querors ; 
And taste that peace which you wrest 

from all hearts ; 
Sleep on, sleep on, fair eyes. 
CALIS. (awakening, to Tircis). 

Ah ! what exceeding cruelty . 
To dog my steps where'er I go ! 
TIRC. What else would you have me follow, alas ! 

But the beloved ? 

CALIS. Say, shepherd, what would you with me ? 

TIRC. To die, fair shepherdess, 

To die at your feet. 
And end my misery. 
Since, in vain, at your feet I sigh, 
I must die there. 
CALIS. Hence, Tircis ; I fear that this day 

The pity in my heart is but the harbinger of 


LYC. & MEN. (one after another). Be it pity, be it love. 
It well becomes to be tender ; 


You too long have been unbending ; 

Shepherdess, you must yield 

To his constant flame. 

Be it pity, be it love, 

It well becomes to be tender. 
CAL. (To Tircis). Too severe, too cruel I have been. 

Your ardour I have treated ill, 

While loving you all the time. 

Avenge yourself on my heart, 

Tircis, which I now yield to you. 

TIRC. O, Heavens, shepherds ! Caliste, I am beside 


If joy can kill, then I shall lose my life. 
LYC. Worthy reward of your love ! 

MEN. O fate to be envied. 


1 ST SATYR. (70 Caliste). What, you fly from me; and I 

see you, 

Ungrateful woman, prefer this shepherd to 
me ! 

2 D SATYR. Have my vows no effect upon your indiffer- 


And for this languid swain your heart is sof- 
tened ! 
CAL. Fate wills it thus ! 

Take patience both of you. 
IST SATYR. To swains who are driven to despair 

Love causes to shed tears ; 

But this is not to our taste, 

And the bottle has some charms 

Which console us for everything. 
2D SATYR. Our passion does not aye obtain 

Whate'er it may desire ; 

But we have another resource, 

And good wine makes us laugh 

When others mock our loves. 
COL. Ye rustic divinities, 

Ye fauns, and dryads, come out 


From your peaceful retreats ; 
Join your steps to our sounds, 
And trace on the verdure 
The image of our songs. 


At the same time, six Dryads and six Fauns come out of 
their grottos, and execute a beautiful dance j then they 
open their ranks all at once, and reveal a shepherd and 
shepherdess who perform a small musical scene of a 

Climene, Philinte. 

PHIL. When I was pleasing to your eyes, 

I with my life was satisfied, 

And saw nor king nor god, 

Whose lot inspired me with envy. 
CLIM. When to every one else 

Your affection preferred me, 

I would have left a crown 

To reign over your heart. 
PHIL. Another has cured my heart 

Of the passion which I had for you. 
CLIM. Another has revenged my flame 

Of your perjured faith. 
PHIL. Chloris, who is lauded much, 

Loves me with a faithful love ; 

If her eyes told me to die 

Gladly I would expire for her. 
CLIM. Myrtil, so worthy of envy, 

Cherishes me more than the day ; 

And I, I would lose my life 

To show him my affection. 
PHIL. What, if returning love again 

Should make me your bright charms adore, 

Should Chloris from my bosom chase, 

And re-instate you in her stead ? 


CLIM. Though with the utmost tenderness, 

Myrtil might ever cherish me, 
With you, I still confess, I would 
And live, and die. 10 
THE TWO TOGETHER. More than ever let us love 

And live and die in bonds so 

All the Actors in the Pastoral. 

Ye lovers, how sweet and nice 

Are your quarrels and bickerings ! 

How we see follow, one after another, 

Pleasure and tenderness! 

Quarrel continually 

To make it up again. 

Ye lovers, how sweet and nice 

Are your quarrels and bickerings ! &c. 

Second Entry of the Ballet. 

The Fauns and the Dryads recommence their dancing, 
which the Shepherds and Shepherdesses accompany by their 
music and song, while three little female Dryads and three 
little Fauns reproduce, at the back of the stage, everything 
that goes on in front. 

The Shepherds and Shepherdesses. 

Let us enjoy, let us enjoy, the innocent pleasures 
With which the fire of love charms our senses. 
Let those who like care for grandeur ; 
All these honours so greatly envied, 
Cause grief which is often too poignant. 
Let us enjoy, let us enjoy, the innocent pleasures 
With which the fire of love charms our senses. 

While we love, everything pleases in life ; 
Two united hearts are contented with their lot, 
Such ardour, followed up by pleasure, 

10 Moliere had already attempted a paraphrase of Horace's ode Donee 
stratus cram tibi, in The Love Tiff, as well as in Tartuffe and in The 
Citizen who apes the Nobleman. The above piece bears the same title as 
the first mentioned play. 


Makes of our days eternal spring. 

Let us enjoy, let us enjoy, the innocent pleasures 
With which the fire of love charms our senses. 



ARIS. The same words come continually to our lips; 
one must always exclaim : That is admirable ! nothing 
could be more beautiful ! it surpasses aught that has ever 
been seen ! 

TIM. The praise is too great for such trifles, Madam. 

ARIS. Trifles like these may agreeably occupy the most 
serious persons. In truth, daughter, you are very much 
obliged to these princes, and you cannot acknowledge 
sufficiently all the trouble which they take for you. 

ERI. I am as grateful as possible for it, Madam. 

ARIS. Still you make them languish a long while for 
what they expect from you. I have promised not to con- 
strain you ; but their affection urges you to declare your- 
self, and no longer to delay the reward for their services. 
I have charged Sostrates gently to discover the sentiments 
of your heart ; and I do not know if 'he has begun to ac- 
quit himself of this commission. 

ERI. Yes, Madam ; but it seems to me that I cannot too 
long postpone the choice for which I am pressed, and 
which I am unable to make without being, to some ex- 
tent, to blame. I feel equally obliged for the love, the 
zeal, and the services of these two princes ; and I think 
it somewhat of a great injustice to show myself ungrateful, 
either to the one or the other, by the refusal I should have 
to make in my preference for his rival. 

IPH. This is certainly, Madam, a very pretty compli- 
ment, in order to refuse us both. 

ARIS. This scruple, daughter, ought not to trouble you ; 
and these two princes have submitted, long ago, to the 
preference which your inclination might cause you to 


ERI. Inclination, Madam, is very apt to be mistaken, 
and disinterested eyes are much more capable of choosing 

ARIS. You know that I have pledged my word to give 
no opinion upon this; and between these two princes, 
your inclination cannot go wrong, or make a choice that 
can be bad. 

ERI. In order not to violate your promise or my scru- 
ples, please to accept, Madam, a way which I make bold 
to propose. 

ARIS. What, daughter? 

ERI. Let Sostrates decide whom I should prefer. You 
have selected him to find out the secret of my heart, now 
permit me to choose him to get me out of the plight in 
which I find myself. 

ARIS. I value Sostrates so much, that, whether you wish 
to employ him to explain your sentiments, or whether you 
will be absolutely guided by him ; I value, say I, his virtue 
and judgment so much, that I consent with all my heart 
to the proposal which you make to me. 

IPH. That means, Madam, that we must pay our court 
to Sostrates? 

Sos. No, my lord, you will have to pay me no court ; 
and with all the respect due to the princesses, I decline 
the glory to which they intend to raise me. 

ARIS. Whence comes that, Sostrates? 

Sos. I have reasons, Madam, which do not allow me to 
receive the honour which you offer to me. 

IPH. Do you fear, Sostrates, to make yourself an 

Sos. I would little fear, my lord, the enemies whom I 
might make, while obeying the will of my sovereigns. 

TIM. For what reason, then, do you refuse to accept the 
power given to you, and to acquire the friendship of that 
prince who shall owe all his happiness to you ? 

Sos. For the reason that I am unable to grant that 
prince what he would wish from me. 

IPH. What might that reason be? 

Sos. Why press me so much on the subject ? I may, 
perhaps, my lord, have some secret interest that opposes 
itself to the pretensions of your love. I may, perhaps, have 


a friend whose heart, without daring to avow it, burns 
with a respectful flame for the divine charms by which you 
are captivated. This friend is perhaps making me a daily 
confidant of his martyrdom, is daily bewailing to me the 
cruelty of his fate, and is looking upon the nuptials of the 
princess as the terrible verdict that consigns him to the 
grave ; and if this were so, my lord, would it be just that 
he should receive his death-blow from my hands. 

IPH. You, Sostrates, might perhaps yourself be that 
friend whose interests you have so much at heart. 

Sos. Do not seek, I pray, you, to render me odious to 
the persons who are listening to you. I know myself, my 
lord ; and unfortunate men like me well know to what 
their permission permits them aspire. 

ARIS. Let us drop this ; we shall find the means of 
overcoming the irresolution of my daughter. 

ANA. Can there be a better way, Madam, to conclude 
matters to the satisfaction of everyone than the light 
which Heaven can throw upon this match. I have, there- 
fore, begun, as I told you, to cast the mysterious figures 
which our art teaches us ; and I hope to be able to show 
you bye-and-bye what the future has in store regarding 
this much-desired union. Can there be any vacillation 
after this ? Shall the glory and prosperity which Heaven 
promises to the one or the other choice, not be sufficient 
to determine it ; and can the rejected one be offended, 
when Heaven itself shall decide this preference ? 

IPH. As for me, I submit entirely to it ; and I declare 
that this way seems to me the most reasonable. 

TIM. I am of the same opinion ; and Heaven could do 
nothing but what I would subscribe to without repug- 

ERI. But my lord Anaxarchus, do you really see so 
clearly into destiny that you are never deceived, and who, 
pray, will be the guarantee for this glory and prosperity, 
which, say you, Heaven promises us ? 

ARIS. Daughter, you have some trifling incredulity that 
does not leave you. 

11 We shall see, farther on, in the fourth Scene of the third Act that the 
astrologer had promised to be favourable to each of the two rival princes. 


ANA. The proofs, Madam, which everybody has seen 
of the infallibility of my predictions, are sufficient guar- 
antees for the promises which I can make. But, in short, 
when I shall have shown you what Heaven marks out for 
you, you shall regulate your conduct after your own 
fancy ; and it will be for you to choose the lot of either 
the one or the other. 

ERI. Will Heaven, Anaxarchus, show me the good or 
bad fortune 12 which shall attend me ? 

ANA. Yes, Madam ; the happiness which shall be your 
lot, if you marry the one ; and the misfortunes which 
shall accompany you, if you wed the other. 

ERI. But as it is impossible that I should wed them 
both, it must then be written down in Heaven, not only 
what is to occur, but also what is not to occur. 

CLIT. {Aside'}. Behold my astrologer non-plussed. 

ANAX. I should have made a long discussion upon the 
principles of astrology, Madam, to make you understand 

CLIT. Well answered. Madam, I say no harm of 
astrology : astrology is a good thing, and my lord Anax- 
archus is a great man. 

IPH. The truth of astrology is incontestable ; and there 
is no one who can dispute against the certainty of its 

CLIT. Assuredly. 

TIM. I am incredulous enough about many things ; but 
as regards astrology, there is nothing more sure and more 
constant than the certainty of the horoscopes which it 

CLIT. They are the clearest things in the world. 

IPH. A hundred foretold adventures happen every day, 
which convince the most stubborn. 

CLIT. That is true. 

12 The original has fortune, which, in Moliere's time, meant " fate, lot, 
luck/' but not " riches,'' as it does generally now. Still the word is some- 
times used in its proper sense, above all, with an adjective, as bonne for- 
tune, mauvaise fortune, also la fortune me sourit. In English we have 
kept generally to the primary meaning, as " fortune favours the brave ;" 
but with the indefinite article it often means "wealth,' 1 as ''he has a for- 
tune of ten thousand pounds. 1 ' 


TIM. Can we contest, on this matter, the famous inci- 
dents which are vouched for by history ? 

CLIT. It would not be common sense. To contest what 
is ordained. 13 

ARIS. Sostrates does not say a word. What is his 
opinion ? 

Sos. Madam, every mind is not born with the qualities 
required for the delicacy of these grand sciences, which 
we call abstruse; and there are some so material, that 
they cannot conceive what others understand in the easiest 
manner possible. There is nothing more agreeable, 
Madam, than all the great promises of these sublime 
studies. To transform everything into gold ; to cause 
people to live for ever; to cure by words; to make 
ourselves beloved by whom we wish; to know all the 
secrets of the future ; to cause to descend from Heaven, 
at one's will, impressions of good fortune on metals ; to 
command demons ; to create invisible armies, and invul- 
nerable soldiers : all this is charming, no doubt ; and 
there are people who have not the slightest trouble in com- 
prehending the possibility of it ; for them it is the easiest 
thing to conceive. But, as for me, I confess candidly that 
my coarse mind has some difficulty in understanding and 
in believing it ; and I have always found it too good to 
be true. All these beautiful arguments of sympathy of 
magnetic force, and of occult influence, are so subtle, and 
delicate, that they escape my material understanding; and, 
without speaking about the rest, it has never been in my 
power to conceive how the smallest particulars of the least 
important man's fate could be found written in Heaven. 
What relation, what connection, what correspondence can 
there be between us and globes so immeasurably distant 
from our earth ? and whence, in short, can this beautiful 
science have come to man? Which god has revealed it? 
or what experience can have been formed from observing 
this great number of stars which no one as yet has been 
able to see twice in the same order ? 

ANAX. It will not be difficult to make you conceive it. 

18 The original has moult, printed. Moliere perhaps did not like to us 
the word imprime, so as to avoid an anachronism. 


Sos. You will be more clever than all others. 

CLIT. {To Sostrates}. He will deliver you a lecture 
upon all this, whenever you like. 

IPH. {To Sostrates}. If you do not understand things, 
at least you can believe them from what we see every day. 

Sos. As my understanding is too coarse to comprehend 
anything, my eyes are also so unfortunate that they have 
never seen anything. 

IPH. As for myself, I have seen, and convincing things 

TIM. And I also. 

Sos. Since you have seen, you do well to believe ; and 
your eyes must be differently made from mine. 

IPH. But, in short, the princess believes in astrology, 
and it seems to me that one may well believe after her. 
Has she not her sense, and wits about her, Sostrates? 

Sos. The question is somewhat startling, my lord. The 
understanding of the princess is no rule for mine ; and 
her intelligence may lift her to glimpses of certain things 
to which my senses cannot soar. 

ARIS. No, Sostrates, I will not say anything about a 
number of matters to which I give no more credence than 
you do ; but, as for astrology, I have been told and have 
been shown things so positive, that I cannot doubt them. 

Sos. There can be no answer to that, Madam. 

ARIS. Let us drop this conversation, and please to leave 
us for a moment. Let us direct our walk towards this 
beautiful grotto, daughter, whither I have promised to go. 
Delicate attentions at every step ! 


The stage represents a grotto, where the princesses go to 
take a walk; and whilst they are entering it, eight statues, 
each bearing two torches in their hands, come down from 
their recesses, and execute a varied dance of different figures 
and several fine attitudes in which they pose at intervals. 

Entry of the Ballet 
Of Eight Statues. 




ARIS. From whosoever it comes, nothing could be more 
gallant and better arranged. Daughter, I have wished to 
separate from the crowd to converse with you ; and I wish 
you to hide nothing of the truth from me. Have you not 
in your heart some secret inclination which you will not 
reveal to us? 

ERIPH. I, Madam? 

ARIS. Speak openly, daughter. What I have done for 
you well deserves that you should be candid with me. To 
turn all my thoughts upon you, to prefer you to aught 
else, to close my ears, in the position which I occupy, to 
all the proposals which a hundred princesses, in my place, 
would have listened to with satisfaction ; all this ought to 
persuade you sufficiently that I am a good mother, and 
that I am not likely to treat with severity the laying bare 
of your heart. 

ERIPH. If I had so badly followed your example, as to 
have allowed myself to be carried away by some feelings 
of inclination which I had reason to hide, I should have 
sufficient self-control, Madam, to impose silence on such 
a passion, and to prevent myself from displaying aught 
that were unworthy of your blood. 

ARIS. No, no, daughter ; you may, without scruple, lay 
bare your feelings to me. I have not confined your incli- 
nation to the choice between the two princes; you may 
extend it to wherever you wish; and merit, with me, has 
so great an influence, that I consider it equal to every- 
thing ; and if you frankly avow matters to me, you will 
find me subscribe without repugnance to the choice which 
"Your heart has made. 

ERIPH. Madam, I cannot sufficiently extol your kindness 
to me: but I shall not put it to the test in the matter on 
which you are speaking ; and all that I ask from it is not 
to urge me to a marriage upon which I am as yet not re- 

ARIS. Till now I have left you mistress in everything; 
and the impatience of the princes, your suitors. . . . But 


what is this noise which I hear ? Ah ! daughter, what 
spectacle meets our sight ! Some divinity descends hither, 
and it is the goddess Venus who apparently wishes to 
speak to us. 

SCENE II. VENUS, accompanied by four little Cupids in a 

VENUS. (To Aristione) 

Princess, in your cares there shines an exam- 

plary zeal 

Which by immortals ought to be rewarded ; 
And that you may have a son-in-law illustrious 

and happy, 
Their hand will point you out the choice that 

you ought to make. 

They all by my voice announce to you 
The glory and the grandeur which, by this 

worthy choice, 

Your house for ever shall enjoy. 
Then there is an end to your difficulties ; 
Give your daughter 
To him who shall save your life. 

ARIS. Daughter, the gods impose silence on all our 
arguments. After this, we have nothing more to do than 
to receive what they are preparing to give us, and you 
have just now distinctly heard their will. Let us go into 
the first temple to assure them of our obedience, and to 
render them thanks for their favours. 


CLE. Behold the princess just going ; do you not wish 
to speak to her ? 

ANA. Let us wait until her daughter is away. She has 
a spirit which I fear, and which is not of a stamp to be 
led like that of her mother. At last, as we have seen, my 
son, through this gap, our stratagem has succeeded. Our 
Venus has done wonders ; and the admirable engineer 
who has prepared this trick has so well arranged every- 
thing, has so cleverly cut the floor of this grotto, so dex- 


terously hidden his wires and all his springs, so nicely 
adjusted his lights, and tastefully dressed his personages, 
that there are few people who would not have been de- 
ceived ; and as the princess Aristione is very superstitious, 
there is no doubt that she fully believes in this decep- 
tion. I have prepared this machine a long while, my 
son, and I shall soon have reached the goal of my am- 

CLE. But for which of these two princes have you in- 
vented this contrivance ? 

ANA. Both have invited my assistance, and to both I 
have promised the influence of my art. But the presents 
of prince Iphicrates and the promises which he has made 
me by far exceed all that the other could have done. Thus 
it will be he who shall receive the favourable effects of all 
the springs which I have set in motion ; and as his ambi- 
tion will owe me everything, our fortune, my son, is as 
good as made. I shall take my time to keep up the error 
in the mind of the princess, to dispose her the better still 
by the connection which I shall skilfully show her be- 
tween the words of Venus and the prognostications of the 
heavenly signs which I shall tell her that I have cast. Go 
you, and look to the rest of the work ; prepare our six 
men to hide themselves carefully in their boat behind the 
rock, to wait quietly until the princess Aristione comes to 
take her evening's walk by herself on the shore ; to 
pounce upon her, at the right time, as if they were pirates, 
so as to give prince Iphicrates an opportunity of bringing 
her that aid which, according to the decrees of Heaven, 
is to place in his hands the princess Eriphila. This prince 
has been warned by me ; and, on the faith of my predic- 
tion, is to hold himself in readiness in this little wood 
which abuts on the shore. But let us get out of this 
grotto ; while we are walking along, I shall inform you 
of all things to be observed. Here comes the princess 
Eriphila ; let us avoid a meeting with her. 


Alas! what a destiny is mine ! and what have I done 
to the gods to merit all the care which they wish to take 
of me? 



CLE. I have found him, Madam, and here he is ; and, 
at your first commands, he has followed me here. 

ERI. Let him come hither, Cleonice ; and leave us to- 
gether for a moment. 


ERI. Sostrates, you love me. 

Sos. I, Madam? 

ERI. Enough, Sostrates; I know it, I approve of it, 
and allow you to tell me so. Your passion seemed to me 
accompanied by all the worth that could make it agreea- 
ble. Were it not for the rank in which Heaven has given 
me birth, I might tell you that this passion would not 
have been an unhappy one, and that a hundred times I 
should have wished for it the support of a fate which 
might have allowed me openly to show the secret feelings 
of my soul. It is not, Sostrates, because merit alone has 
not in my eyes all the value which it ought to have, and 
because I do not prefer, in my inmost heart, the virtues 
which you possess to all the magnificent titles with which 
the others are clothed. It is not even because the princess, 
my mother, has not left me the disposal of my feelings ; 
and I do not doubt, I confess to you, but that my prayers 
could have turned her consent the way which I would 
have desired. But there are stations in life, Sostrates, in 
which it would not be honourable to do all that one would 
wish. It is sad to be put above all things ; and the vexa- 
tious reports of fame often make us pay too dearly for the 
pleasure which we might have had in satisfying our incli- 
nations. To this, Sostrates, I could never have made up 
my mind ; and I deemed it sufficient to avoid the engage- 
ments which I was entreated to make. But, in short, the 
gods themselves will take the burthen of providing me 
with a husband ; and all these long delays with which I 
have postponed my marriage, and which the kindness of 
the princess, my mother, has granted to my wishes ; these 
delays, I say, are no longer permitted to me, and I must 
resolve to submit to the decree of Heaven. Be assured, 
Sostrates, that it is with the utmost repugnance that I 
submit to this marriage ; and that, had I been mistress of 


myself, I should have been yours, or no one's. This, Sos- 
trates, is what I had to tell you ; this is what I thought 
was due to your worth, and is all the consolation which 
my tenderness can afford to your affection. 

Sos. Ah ! Madam, this even is too much for an un- 
happy wretch ! I was not prepared to die with so much 
glory; and, from this moment, I shall cease to complain 
of my fate. If it caused me to be born in a station less 
elevated than I could have desired, it has at least caused 
me to be born sufficiently fortunate to attract some pity 
from the heart of a great princess ; and this glorious pity 
is worth crowns and sceptres, is worth the fortune of the 
greatest princes of the earth. Yes, Madam, from the mo- 
ment I have dared to love you (it is you, Madam, who 
gave me leave to use this bold word), from the moment, 
I say, that I have dared to love you, I first condemned 
the pride of my aspirations; I have myself prepared that 
fate which I ought to expect. My death-blow, Madam, 
will have nothing to surprise me, as I was prepared for it ; 
but your kindness loads it with an honour for which my 
affection never dared to hope ; and I shall die, after this, 
the most contented and glorious of all mortals. If I could 
still wish for aught, there are two favours, Madam, which 
I make bold to ask of you on my knees : to be willing to 
endure my presence until this happy marriage which is to 
end my life ; and amidst this great glory and long pros- 
perity which Heaven promises to your union, to think 
sometimes of the love-stricken Sostrates. May I, divine 
princess, flatter myself with this so precious favour. 

ERI. Go, Sostrates, depart from this. You do not care 
for my peace in asking me to remember you. 

Sos. Ah ! Madam, if your peace . . . 

ERI. Away, I tell you, Sostrates, spare my weakness, and 
expose me to no more than I have resolved upon. 


CLE. Madam, I see you are very sad in spirit : will it 
please you that your dancers, who express all passions so 
well, shall give you a sample of their skill? 

ERI. Yes, Cleonice ; anything they like, as long as they 
leave me to my thoughts. 



Four pantomimists, as a sample of their skill, adjust their 
movements and their steps to the uneasiness of the young prin- 
cess Eriphila. 

Entry of the Ballet. 

Of four pantomimists. 


CLI. Which way shall I turn ? whither can I go ? and 
where am I now likely to find princess Eriphila? It is no 
small advantage to be the first to carry news. Ah ! there 
she is ! Madam, I have come to announce to you that 
Heaven has just now given you the husband it allotted to 

ERI. Eh ! leave me, Clitidas, to my gloomy melancholy. 

CLI. Madam, I ask your pardon. I thought I was doing 
well in coming to tell you that Heaven has just now given 
you Sostrates for a husband ; but, as it seems to annoy you, 
I shall pocket my news, and go back again as straight as 
I came. 

ERI. Clitidas! Clitidas! 

CLI. I leave yo u, Madam, to your gloomy melancholy. 

ERI. Stay, I tell you ; come here. What have you come 
to tell me? 

CLI. Nothing, Madam. One is sometimes hasty to come 
to tell great people about certain things, for which they do 
not care, and I pray you to excuse me. 

ERI. How cruel you are ! 

CLI. Another time I shall have the discretion not to 
come to interrupt you. 

ERI. Keep me no longer in suspense. What have you 
come to tell me? 

CLI. Just a trifle about Sostrates, Madam, which I will 
tell you another time, when you shall be less engaged. 

ERI. Do not tire me any longer, I say, and tell me the 


CLI. You wish to know it, Madam? 

ERI. Yes ; make haste. What have you to tell me about 
Sostrates ? 

CLI. A marvellous adventure, which no one expected. 

ERI. Tell me quickly what it is. 

CLI. It will not trouble your gloomy melancholy, Madam? 

ERI. Come, speak promptly. 

CLI. I must tell you then, Madam, that the princess, 
your mother, was passing nearly alone through the forest, 
by those little paths which are so pleasant, when a hideous 
wild boar (those nasty wild boars always cause such dis- 
orders, and they ought to be banished from well-kept 
forests), when, I say, a hideous wild boar, driven at bay, 
I believe, by some hunters, crossed the road where we 
were. 1 * In order to adorn my tale, I ought to give you an 
elaborate description of the boar of which I speak ; but 
you will dispense with it, if you please, and I shall content 
myself by telling you that it was a formidable animal. 
It was going its way, and it would have been as well not 
to meddle with it, to pick no quarrel with it; but the 
princess wished to show her dexterity, and inflicted with 
her dart, which, with all respect to her, she used some- 
what untimely, quite a small wound just above the ear. 
The boar, ill-behaved, impertinently turned round on us : 
we were two or three wretches there, who turned pale 
with fright ; each one made for his tree, and the princess, 
defenceless, remained exposed to the fury of the brute, 
when suddenly Sostrates appeared, as if he had been sent 
by the gods. 

ERI. Well! Clitidas? 

CLI. If my story wearies you, Madam, I shall put off 
the remainder till another time. 

ERI. Finish quickly. 

CLI. Indeed, it is quickly that I shall finish, for a little 
bit of cowardice has prevented me from noticing all the 
details of the struggle ; and all that I can tell you is, that, 
returning to the spot, we found the boar dead, weltering 
in his blood ; and the princess full of joy, proclaiming 

14 In The Princess of Elis ( see Vol. II.), a wild boar threatens also the 
life of the Princess, and terribly frightens Moron, who is even a greater 
coward than Clitidas. 


Sostrates her deliverer, and the worthy and fortunate 
husband whom the gods destined for you. At these 
words, I thought that I had heard enough, and I hastened, 
before every one else, to come and bring you the news. 

ERI. Ah ! Clitidas, could you have given me any that 
was more agreeable ? 

CLI. Here they come to look for you. 


ARIS. I see, daughter, that you already know everything 
that we can tell you. You see that the gods have 
explained themselves sooner than we thought : my danger 
has not been long in revealing their wishes to us; and it 
will be sufficiently clear that it is they who have interfered 
with this choice, since merit alone shines out in this 
selection. Can you have any repugnance to reward with 
your heart one to whom I owe my life? and would you 
refuse Sostrates for your husband ? 

ERI. Both from the hands of the gods and from yours, 
Madam, I could receive no gift more agreeable to me. 

Sos. Heaven! is not this some dream replete with 
glory, with which the gods wish to flatter me ? and shall 
not some wretched awakening replunge me into the misery 
of my fate? 


CLEON. Madam, I have come to tell you that, till now, 
Anaxarchus has been deceiving both princes, by holding 
out the hope that the selection would take place, for which 
they have been waiting so long; and that, at the rumour 
of your accident, they have both given way to their 
resentment against him, to that extent that, from words tc 
words, matters have become more warm, and he has 
received some wounds, of which the issue is very uncertain. 
But here they come. 


ARIS. You both act with too great a violence, princes ; 


and if Anaxarchus has offended you, I was the one to do 
you justice. 

IPH. And what justice, Madam, could you have done 
us with him, seeing that you give so little consideration 
to our rank in the choice which you make ? 

ARIS. Did you both not submit to what the decrees of 
Heaven, or the inclination of my daughter, might decide 
in this matter ? 

TIM. Yes, Madam, we submitted to what they might 
decide between prince Iphicrates and myself, but not to 
find both of us repulsed. 

ARIS. And if each of you could have submitted to see 
the other preferred, what has occurred for which you 
should not be prepared ? and what difference can the in- 
terests of his rival make to either the one or the other? 

IPH. Yes, Madam, it does make a difference. It is some 
consolation to see a man equal to one's self preferred ; 
but your blindness is a frightful matter. 

ARIS. Prince, I do not wish to fall out with one who 
has been so gracious as to pay me many compliments ; 
and I pray you, with all possible honesty, to base your 
grief upon a more reasonable foundation ; to remember, 
if you please, that Sostrates is invested with a worth which 
has shown itself to all Greece, and that the rank to which 
Heaven raises hfm to-day, will fill up every gulf which has 
existed between him and you. 

IPH. Yes, yes, Madam, we shall remember it. But 
perhaps you will please also to remember that two out- 
raged princes are not two enemies to be lightly overlooked. 

TIM. Perhaps, Madam, the joy of having despised us 
will not be tasted long in peace. 

ARIS. I forgive all these threats for the sake of the grief 
for an affection which believes itself insulted ; and we 
shall not the less assist at the feast of the Pythian games 
with the utmost tranquillity. Let us go there immediately, 
and let us crown by this glorious spectacle this marvellous 




The scene represents a great hall in the form of an am- 
phiiheatre opening upon a grand arcade at the farther end, 
above which is a tribune, closed by a curtain, and in the 
distance is seen an altar prepared for sacrifice. Six men, 
dressed as if they were almost naked, each carrying a 
hatchet on his shoulder, as if they were going to sacrifice, 
enter by the portico, to the sound of violins and are followed 
by two sacrificers who play, by a priestess, also playing, and 
by their suite. 

The Priestess. 

Sing in thousand spots, ye people, sing, 

The brilliant marvels of the gods whom we serve ; 

Range Heaven and earth : 

No song so precious you could sing 

Nothing so dulcet to the ear. 

A Greek Woman. 

Nothing resists this god 

So full of charm, this god so full of strength. 

Another Greek Woman. 

Nothing on earth exists 
Except by his goodness. 

Another Greek Woman. 

All the earth is sad 
When he is not seen. 


Let us to his memory sing 
Such touching concerts, 
That from, his glory's height, 
He may listen to our song. 

First Entry of the Ballet. 
Six men carrying hatchets execute among themselves a 


dance exhibiting all the postures in -which strength can be 
expressed; then they file off to the two sides of the stage to 
make room for six vaulters. 

Second Entry of the Ballet. 

Six vaulters show, to music, their skill upon wooden 
horses, which are brought by slaves. 

Third Entry of the Ballet. 

Four leaders of slaves bring in, to music, twelve slaves, 
who dance and show their joy at having recovered their 

Fourth Entry of the Ballet. 

Four men and four women, armed in the Greek fashion, 
execute a kind of assault at arms. 

The tribune opens. A herald, six trumpeters, and a kettle- 
drum player, joining the other instruments, proclaim, with 
great noise, the arrival of Apollo. 


Let us all open our eyes 
To the supreme brilliancy 
Which flashes in these places. 

What extreme grace ! 
What glorious bearing ! 
Where else can gods be seen 
Fashioned as he is. 

Apollo, to the sound of trumpets and violins, enters by the 
portico, preceded by six young men, who bear laurel wreathed 
round a stick, and a golden sun at the top, with the royal 
device in the form of a trophy. The six young men, in order 
to dance with Apollo, give their trophy to the six men with 
hatchets to take care of, and begin, with Apollo, a heroic 
dance, in which there joins, in various attitudes, the six men 
carrying the trophy, the four women with their cymbals, and 
the four men with their drums, while the six trumpeters, the 
kettle-drum player, the sactificers, the priestess, and the 
chorus of music accompany all this, joining it at different in- 
tervals ; which finishes the Pythian games, and the whole 


Fifth and Last Entry of the Ballet. 

Apollo, and six young men of his suite, chorus of music. 
For the king representing the sun. 

I am the source of all delight ; 
And the most vaunted stars, 
Whose beauteous circle is around me, 
Are only brilliant and respected, 
By the splendour which I give them, 

From the car on which I sit, 
I see the wish to behold me 
Shared by the whole of nature ; 
And the wide world has but its hope 
In the sole blessings of my light. 

Very happy everywhere, 
And full of exquisite wealth, 
The lands on which I throw 
The sweet caresses of my glances. 1 * 

For M. Le Grand, attendant of Apollo. 

Though near the sun all other brilliancy must fade, 
One does not the less desire to remain, 
And thus you see, that whatever he may do, 
One always remains as near as possible to him. 

For the Marquis De Villeroi, attendant of Apollo. 

From our incomparable master, 

You behold me inseparable ; 

The powerful zeal which binds me to his command 

Follows him through the waters and the flames. 

For the Marquis de Rassent, attendant of Apollo. 

I would not be vain, if I did not believe 
That another better than myself can follow his steps 

15 These verses are sufficiently fulsome. Can we wonder that Louis 
XIV. thought himself made of a different clay from the rest of humanity ? 








ON the i3th of October, 1670, was played at Chambord, before the court, 
The Citizen who apes the Nobleman, 1 and this play was repeated on the 
20th and 2ist of the same month ; then at Saint Germain-en- Laye on the 
9th, nth, and I3th of November. On the 23d of the latter month, it was 
played for the first time at the Palais-Royal, and was acted alternately 
with Corneille's Berenice from the a6th of the same month. Moliere's 
comedy was represented twenty-four times, until the theatre closed for 

In M. Jourdain, Moliere attacks a folly more pre-eminently Gallic than 
any other the folly of strutting about in the dress of a Mamamouchi of 
becoming a somebody, of wearing a nice embroidered coat, being the 
cynosure of an admiring set of gapers. The desire of showing off one's 
personal air and graces ; of pretending to be more than one really is ; of 
taking a title to which one has no right : of wearing a coloured ribband 
which one is not entitled to fasten to one's button-hole ; of pluming one's 
self on imaginary intellectual or amatory conquests, was, and is still, char- 
acteristically French ; and something like an epitome of these follies 
may be seen in Moliere's citizen. The purse-proud vulgarian, who de- 
sires to ally himself to a noble family, is to be found in all countries. 

Dorante, the representative nobleman, is in this play not much better 
than the bumptious citizen. He is not so insolent as Don Juan, nor most 
probably so well born ; but he is mean enough to borrow money from a 
man whom he despises and mocks ; bad enough to let that man pay for 
the entertainments and presents which he offers to the object of his love ; 
and sufficiently a scoundrel to pretend to pander to Jourdain's worst 

1 It is difficult to give the correct meaning of the French title, Le Bourgeois 
Gentilhomme. Mr. Ozell translates it The Gentleman Cit, which to my mind 
gives the idea of a gentleman who was also a citizen. In the translation of the 
select Comedies, published in 1732, and afterwards brought out in ten volumes, this 
play is called The Cit turned Gentleman, which is not correct, for Monsieur Jour- 
dain never became a gentleman. Besides, in Moliere's time the word gentilhomme 
indicated a certain noble descent or rank, and was also bestowed upon the holders 
of some offices ; in the same sense as we even say now in English. " The Honour- 
able Corps of Gentlemen-at- Arms." M. Jourdain was not a noble by manners or 
birth, but does his best to imitate one: I first intended to call the play The Citizen 
who would become a Nobleman ; but Jourdain does not desire to be ennobled, but 
only strives to imitate the man of quality's elegant manners, splendid apparel, 
loose way of living, and learning. 



vices. Such a character was not improbable ; and many of the courtly 
gallants who listened to the remarks of Dorante might have thought him- 
self pourtrayed, and felt perhaps flattered by the delineation. The 
Memoires of the Count de Grammont prove at least that cheating at play, 
and defrauding even with violence, were not unknown to the courtiers of 
Louis XIV. 

Dorimene and Mrs. Jourdain offer also a pretty contrast. The first is 
a titled widow of some experience v/ho has seen the world, but who pre- 
tends to be innocence itself, and who does not at all suspect that the 
presents which her swindling lover give, come from the old idiot who is 
in love with her. The second is an honest but rather common-place 
woman, endowed with a good deal of shrewd common-sense, nearly al- 
ways right in her remarks ; although wrong in the way of expressing her- 
self. Mrs. Jourdain has been compared to Teresa, the wife of Sancho 
Panza, the worthy squire of Don Quixote, and it is certain that they who 
will read the fifth chapter of the second part of that celebrated Spanish 
novel, may discover a great analogy between the domestic consultation of 
Sancho and his wife about the marriage of their daughter Mary, whom 
Sancho refuses to give to Lope, " old Joan Tocho's son, a hale jolly young 
' fellow,'' and whom he wishes to marry a nobleman. 

It has been said that Moliere intended to sketch, in M. Jourdain, a 
certain hat manufacturer, Gandouin, who had spent fifty thousand crowns 
with a woman whom Moliere knew, afterwards tried to commit a murder, 
and was locked up in a lunatic asylum, whence he escaped. But all this 
is mere guess-work ; for MoliSre simply formed one fool from the many 
who surrounded him, and put him upon the stage, as a lesson for others. 

It has also been mentioned that Moliere invented the reception of Jour- 
dain as Mamamouchi, in order to avenge Louis XIV. for an imaginary 
slight which the Turkish ambassador is supposed to have done to the 
King, by saying that the Suite 11 had more precious stones on the trappings 
of his horse than there were on the royal dress; and that the only remark 
which that ambassador made when he saw the Citizen's investiture, was, 
" that the bastinado was always applied to the soles of the feet, and not 
to the back." This again appears to be a mere piece of groundless gos- 
sip ; for the Turkish ambassador extraordinary, Muta Ferrace, had left on 
the 2gth of May 1670, and The Citizen* -who apes the Kobleman was not 
represented until the I3th of October of the same year. Moreover, ac- 
cording to the Memoires of the Chevalier d'Arvieux, who had lived twelve 
years in the Levant, and spoke Turkish and Arabic perfectly well, it was 
the King himself who had ordered him to arrange with Moliere and Lulli 
about the dresses, manners, and customs of the Turks for the play of The 
Citizen who apes the Nobleman. To him we owe also the few Turkish 
and Arabic words which are found there. 

The gullibility of M. Jourdain in being made a Mamamouchi may ap- 
pear incredible ; but sixteen years after the first representation of this play, 
a certain Abbe de Saint Martin was persuaded that the Emperor of Siam 
had sent an embassy to France, to create him a mandarin and Marquess 
of Miskou; and he received his new dignity with ceremonies still more 
extraordinary than those employed for our Citizen. And besides, does 
not every day produce sufficient evidence that credulity knows no bounds, 
and that in the financial, social, political, and even literary world noth- 
ing is easier to discover than "blind belief?" There are many people 
wandering about only too anxious to be literally and figuratively basted 
and roasted. 


Lulli composed the music for this comedy, and played the part of the 
Mufti ; but this gave great offence to the secretaries of the king, of whom 
Lulli wished to be one, and they incited M. de Louvois to speak to the 
Italian musician. The minister did so, and said that he was astonished 
that " a mere musician, whose only service was to make the king laugh, 
could aspire to become one of that monarch's secretaries." " You would 
do the same, if you could," replied Lulli. However Louis XIV. had 
only to say one word, and the musician was elected. Nay, more, he 
gave his colleagues a splendid repast, and afterwards invited them to 
come at the representation of The Triumph of Love, then playing at the 
Opera. M. de Louvois, meeting Lulli some time afterwards in the Gal- 
lery of Versailles, said to him, with a grim smile, " Good morning, col- 

Tradition says that Louis XIV., during the first representation of Mo- 
liere's comedy, did not utter a single word, nor give any sign that he was 
satisfied. The courtiers thereupon fell foul of the dramatist, said that his 
vein was exhausted, that his halo, bala bala chou proved his poverty of in- 
vention, and showed at the same time that he mistook them for fools. 
During the seven days which passed between the first and second repre- 
sentations Moliere kept his room at Chaubord, and sent Baron to find out 
what was thought of his piece ; but the latter brought back always bad 
tidings. ' After the second representation, the King said to MoliSre : " I 
have not spoken to you about your play since it was first performed, be- 
cause I was afraid of being prejudiced by the way in which it was acted ; 
but, really, Moli&re, you have as yet not written anything which has 
amused me more, and your piece is excellent 1" Immediately the courtiers 
began to stammer forth a chorus of praises, declared that Moliere was 
inimitable, and that he had more comic power than all the ancients taken 
together ! 

In the second volume of the translations of " the select Comedies of 
M. de Moliere," this play, under the title of The Cit turrid Gentleman, 
is dedicated to His Royal Highness, the Duke, in the following words : 

SIR, The following Attempt to make the BURGEOIS of Moliere speak English, 
implores Your ROYAL HIGHNESS'S Acceptance and Patronage. Your Name is 
Ornamental, and will be auspicious to the Work ; For who sees, or hears, or but 
reads of the DUKE OF CUMBERLAND without Pleasure ? 

That Fair Form, SIR, which so much captivates the Eye, that Sweetness and 
Condescension, which so strongly engage the Heart, tho' most conspicuous, are 
look'd upon as Graces of an inferior Rank, in Your ROYAL HIGHNESS, by those 
who have the Honour to be near Your Person. 

You no less charm the Public, SIR, whether You appear in the Courtly Circle, 
or at the Head of Your little Military Company, marshalling and training that 
Band of blooming Heroes, whose Names, under Yours, may adorn future Histories : 
Or, whether You show Your Skill and Address in the Menage, by provoking, 
curbing, and mastering the generous Steed. 

Think, YOUNG PRINCE, what a Figure our Imaginations represent You as 
making hereafter, in our Fleets, our Armies, or our Councils; and aspire to the 
arduous Task of rising above our Expectations. 

In the meantime, SIR, when relax'd from Your Princely Studies, and Exercises, 
Moliere waits upon You to divert You with his CIT : An Author justly grown to 
the Authority of a classic ; than whom none understood or copy'd Nature better ; 
as pure in his Moral as he is terse in his Wit ; whose Writings therefore can be no 
improper Entertainment for a Young Prince of Virtue and Genius. The Folly and 
Affectation of a Cit turn'd Gentleman, is what Your ROYAL HIGHNESS cannot 


fail of observing about a Court ; and as the Original has given you Diversion, so 
'tis hop'd, will a Copy drawn at full length by Moliere. 

The Translator of this Piece, SIR, presumes to affirm that the Text of Moliere 
presents it self to Your ROYAL HIGHNESS more correct and beautiful than it ever 
yet appear' d. But he is too conscious of the fine Taste Your HIGHNESS has 
already in both Languages, and his own Imperfections, to aspire to any thing more 
than Your Amusement, by giving You an Opportunity of judging how hard it is to 
transplant the Beauties of Moliere, or to hit the Delicacy of his Sentiments, in any 
other Language or Words than his own. 

The Persons, SIR, for whose Use this Work is chiefly calculated, are such who 
neither want the Taste, nor the good Sense to be charmed with Mohere, yet are 
not Masters enough of his Language to read him without Assistance, to whom, 
that He may have the strongest Recommendation, Your ROYAL HIGHNESS'S name 
is presum'd to be plac'd at the Head of this Piece, hoping that Goodness, which is 
so natural to You, will pardon this Presumption in, SIR, Your Royal Highness' f 
most Devoted, most Obedient, Humble Servant, 


Ravenscroft has imitated Moliere's play in his Mamamouchi ; or the 
Citizen turned Gentleman; (see Introductory notice to M. de Pourceaug- 
nac ;) and also in his Scaramouche ; a Philosopher, Harlequin a School 
Boy, Bravo, Merchant and Magician. (See Introductory Notice to The 
Forced Marriage, Vol. I.) In Ravenscroft's first play, which 'is dedicated 
to Prince Rupert, and is a medley of M. de Pourceaugnac and the Citizen 
who apes the Nobleman, it is Lucia the daughter who takes the part of the 
Master of Philosophy. In his second play he makes use of whatever he 
did not employ of Moliere's comedy in his Mamamouchi. 

Farquhar, in his Love and a Bottle, acted at Drury-Lane Theatre in 
1699, has partly imitated M. Jourdain in " Mockmode, a young Squire, 
come newly from the University, and setting up for a Beau ;" and the 
scenes between the Squire, Rigadoon, the dancing-master, and Nimble- 
wrist, a fencing-master, appear to be freely followed from Moliere's 

Foote's The Commissary, acted at the Haymarket in 1765, is also bor- 
rowed partly from Moliere. Zachary Fungus had acquired a large 
fortune as a Commissary in Germany, and though a man of low birth, 
wishes to be made a complete gentleman. For this purpose he places 
himself under several masters, Mr. Gruel and Dr. Catgut, by whom it is 
said Dr. Arne was meant, and these scenes are certainly more or less 
borrowed from Moliere. The Commissary's brother Isaac is also partly 
an imitation of Madam Jourdain. The fencing scene (Act ii., Scene i) 
between the Commissary and Mrs. Mechlin, is nearly identical with the 
scene between M. Jourdain and Nicole (Act iii., Scene 3) in Moliere's 

There exists also an alteration of Moliere's play, called, He would be a 
Lord, a comedy in three acts, in prose, published in 1874, adapted for 
male characters, and which is a curiosity in its way. It appears to have 
been arranged for Roman Catholic boys' schools. Instead of Madam 
Jourdain we have " George, brother to M. Jourdain;" Nicole becomes 
" Nicholas," and Cleonte, Captain Dubar. The pupil of the music-master 
sings in the first act a song to the air of "Tara's Halls," of which the 
last four lines are: 

" My eye runs wet when mem'ry brings 
Thy image to my soul, 
And bounds my heart, whene'er I see, 
The picture of thy pole." 


M. Jourdain sings to the festive tune of "We'll not go home until 
morning," the song " Malbrough has gone to war," etc. The scene 
in which M. Jourdain is made a Mamamouchi is omitted, as well as 
several others. When the marriage-contract has been signed, in which, 
of course, the chief character, Lucile, being a young lady, is absent, 
M. Jourdain discovers that his daughter has not married the son of 
the Grand Turk, but Gustavus Dubar. He endeavours to refuse his 
consent, is threatened by the notary with "ten years' imprisonment in 
Cayenne and perpetual degradation," is taken prisoner by "an officer" 
on a charge of procuring and wearing a dress worn only and exclu- 
sively by the peers of France, is accused of "high treason, and that 
means death," imagines that he is shot dead, and falls down; and 
finally accepts Captain Dubar as his son-in-law. 



MR. JOURDAIN, citizen* 
CLEONTE, in love with Lucille. 
DORANTE, a count, Dorimene's 


COVIELLE, Cleonte's valet. 








LUCILLE, Jourdairfs daughter. 

DORIMENE, a marchioness. 

NICOLE, Jourdairis maid servant. 


First Act. 


Second Act. 

Third Act. 
Fourth Act (Turkish Interlude}. 
TURKS, the Muftfs Assistants 



Fifth Act (Ballet of Nations.} 

HANGERS-ON (Dancing). 
A Swiss. 




Two POITEVINS (Singing and 

MEN AND WOMEN (Poitevins 

Singing and Dancing). 


1 Moliere played this part himself. In the inventory taken after his 
death, we find : " A striped dressing gown, lined with deep yellow and 
green taffeta, breeches of red plush, a morning jacket of blue plush, a 
night-cap and a skull-cap, hose and a scarf of linen, painted like chintz, a 
Turkish waistcoat and turban, a sword, hose of flowered silk also orna- 
mented with green and deep yellow ribbands and two Sedan laces. The 
doublet of green taffeta, ornamented with imitation silver lace. The belt, 
green silk stockings and gloves, with a hat with dark yellow and green 
feathers.'' M. Souli justly remarks that M. Jourdain " showed his 
music-master his tight red velvet breeches and his green velvet jacket , 
and that therefore the valuer must have made a mistake in the inventory." 




( The overture is played by a great many instruments j and 
in the middle of the stage, the pupil of the music-master 
is busy composing a serenade, ordered by M.Jourdain). 


Mus.-MAS. (To the Musicians). Come, retire into that 
room, and rest yourselves until he comes. 

DAN. -MAS. (To the Dancers]. And you also, on that 

MUS.-MAS. (To his Pupil). Is it done? 

PUP. Yes 

Mus.-MAS. Let me look. . . . That is right. 

DAN.-MAS. It is something new ? 

MUS.-MAS. Yes, it is an air for a serenade, which I 
made him compose here, while waiting till our gentleman 
is awake. 

DAN.-MAS. May one have a look at it? 

Mus.-MAS. You shall hear it by-and-by with the dia- 
logue, when he comes ; he will not be long. 

DAN.-MAS. Our occupations, yours and mine, are no 
small matter just at present. 



Mus.-MAS. True : we have both of us found here the 
very man whom we want. It is a nice little income for 
us this Mr. Jourdain, with his notions of nobility and 
gallantry, which he has taken into his head ; and your 
dancing and my music might wish that everyone were 
like him. 

DAN. -MAS. Not quite ; and I should like him to be 
more of a judge than he is, of the things we provide 
for him. 

Mus.-MAS. It is true that he knows little about them, 
but he pays well ; and that is what our arts require just 
now above aught else. 

DAN. -MAS. As for myself, I confess, I hunger somewhat 
after glory. I am fond of applause, and I think that, in 
all the fine arts, it is an annoying torture to have to 
exhibit before fools, to have one's compositions subjected 
to the barbarism of a stupid man. Do not argue ; there 
is a delight in having to work for people who are capable 
of appreciating the delicacy of an art, who know how to 
give a sweet reception to the beauties of a work, and 
who, by approbations which tickle one's fancy, reward 
one for his labour. Yes, the most pleasant recompense 
one can receive for the things which one does, is to find 
them understood, and made much of by applause which 
does one honour, There is nothing in my opinion, that 
pays us better for all our troubles; and enlightened 
praises are exquisitely sweet. 3 

Mus.-MAS. I quite agree with you, and I enjoy them 
as much as you do. Assuredly, there is nothing that 
tickles our fancy more than the applause you speak of; 
but such incense does not give us our livelihood. Praise 
pure and simple does not provide for a rainy day: there 
must be something solid mixed withal ; and the best way 
to praise is to put one's hand in one's pocket. M. Jour- 
dain is a man, it is true, whose knowledge is very small, 
who discourses at random upon all things, and never 

s The dancing-master speaks in the language of the Precieuses. 
Dancing-masters were held in high estimation at the court of Louis XIV. ; 
hence it was not so strange, as it would appear at the present time, to 
have a dancing-master prefer praise to money. 


applauds but at the wrong time ; but his money makes up 
for his bad judgment ; he has discernment in his purse ; 
his praises are minted, and this ignorant citizen is of 
more value to us, as you see, than the great lord who 
introduced us here. 

DAN. -MAS. There is some truth in what you say ; but 
I think you make a little too much of money ; and the 
interest in it is something so grovelling, that no gentle- 
man ought ever to show any attachment to it. 

Mus.-MAS. You are glad enough, however, to receive 
the money which our gentleman gives you. 

DAN. -MAS. Assuredly; but I do not make it my whole 
happiness ; and I could wish that with all his wealth he 
had also some good taste. 

Mus.-MAS. I could wish the same ; and that is what we 
are aiming at both of us. But, in any case, he gives us 
the means of becoming known in the world ; and he shall 
pay for others, and others shall applaud for him. 

DAN.-MAS. Here he comes. 

SCENE II. M. JOURDAIN (in dressing-gown and night-cap~), 

M. JOUR. Well, gentlemen ! What is it ? Will you 
show me your little drollery ? 

DAN.-MAS. How now? What little drollery ? 

M. JOUR. Eh ! the . . . What do you call it ? Your 
prologue or dialogue of songs and dancing. 

DAN.-MAS. Ah ! ah ! 

Mus.-MAS. We are quite prepared. 

M. JOUR. I have kept you waiting a little ; but that is 
because I am to be dressed to-day like your people of 
quality ; and my tailor has sent me some silk stockings 
which I thought I would never get on. 

Mus.-MAS. We are here only to await your leisure. 

M. JOUR. I pray you both not to go away until my 
dress has been brought, so that you may see it. 

DAN.-MAS. Whatever may please you. 

M. JOUR. You shall see me equipped in style, from 
head to foot. 


Mus.-MAS. We do not doubt it. 

M. JOUR. I have had this chintz dressing-gown made 
for me. 

DAN.-MAS. It is very handsome. 

M. JOUR. My tailor told me that people of quality wear 
one like this in the morning. 

Mus.-MAS. It becomes you marvellously. 

M. JOUR. Fellows! hullo ! where are my two lacqueys? 

IST LAC. What do you wish, Sir ? 

M. JOUR. Nothing. It is only to see whether you hear 
me readily. (To the Music-Master and Dancing- Master). 
What do you think of my liveries ? 

DAN.-MAS. They are magnificent. 

M. JOUR. (Partly opening his dressing-gown, and 
showing his tight scarlet velvet breeches, and green velvet 
morning jacket). This is a kind of undress to go about in 
the morning. 

Mus.-MAS. It is charming. 

M. JOUR. Fellow ! 

IST LAC. Sir? 

M. JOUR. The other fellow ! 

ZD LAC. Sir ? 

M. JOUR. (Taking his dressing-gown off}. Hold my 
gown. (To the Music- Master and Dancing- Master). Do 
you think I look well like this ? 

DAN.-MAS. Very well, indeed ; it could not be better. 

M. JOUR. Now let us have a look at this matter of 

Mus.-MAS. I should like you to hear beforehand an air 
which (pointing to his pupil) he has composed just now 
for the serenade which you asked of me. He is one of 
my pupils, who has an admirable talent for this kind of 

M. JOUR. Yes, but you ought not to have left this to 
a pupil ; and you were not too good for this business 

Mus.-MAS. You must not let the name of pupil impose 
upon you, Sir. These sort of pupils know as much as the 
greatest masters ; and the air is as beautiful a one as could 
be composed. Only listen. 

M. JOUR. (To his lacqueys). Hand me my gown, so 


that I may hear better . . . Stay, I think I shall be 
better without it. No, give it me back again ; that will 
be best. 

FEM. Mus. I languish night and day, past bearing is 

my pain, 
Since those fair eyes imposed their cruel 

If thus, fair Iris, you treat those who love 


Alas ! what could you do to your enemies. 
M. JOUR. This song seems to me somewhat lugubrious ; 
it sends one to sleep, and I should like you to enliven it a 
little here and there. 

Mus. -MAS. It is necessary that the air should be suited 
to the words, Sir. 

M. JOUR. Somebody taught me a very pretty one a 
little while ago. Wait a moment .... the . . . How 
is it? 

DAN. -MAS. Really, I do not know. 
M. JOUR. There is a sheep in it. 
DAN. -MAS. A sheep? 
M. JOUR. Yes. Ah ! (He sings) 
I fancied my Jenny, 
As gentle as fair; 
I fancied my Jenny, 
More gentle than a sheep. 
Alas ! alas ! 

She is a hundred times, 
A thousand times more cruel 
Than a tiger in the woods. 
Is it not pretty? 

Mus. -MAS. The prettiest thing in the world. 
DAN. -MAS. And you sing it well. 
M. JOUR. And that without having learnt music. 
Mus.-MAS. You ought to learn it, Sir, as you do danc- 
ing. They are two arts which are closely bound together. 
DAN. -MAS. And which open a man's mind to the 
beauty of things. 

M. JOUR. Do people of quality learn music too ? 

Mus.-MAS. Yes, Sir. 

M. JOUR. I shall learn it then. But I do not know 


what time I could take for it; for besides the fencing- 
master who teaches me, I have engaged a professor of 
philosophy who is to begin this morning. 

Mus.-MAS. Philosophy is something, but music, Sir, 
music . . . 

DAN.-MAS. Music and dancing . . . Music and danc- 
ing, that is all that is necessary. 

Mus.-MAS. There is nothing so useful in a State as 

DAN.-MAS. There is nothing so necessary to men as 

Mus.-MAS, Without music, a State cannot exist. 

DAN.-MAS. Without dancing, a man can do nothing. 

Mus.-MAS. All the disorders, all the wars that occur in 
the world, happen because people have not learned music. 

DAN.-MAS. All the misfortunes of mankind, all the sad 
reverses with which history is filled, the political blunders, 
the miscarriage of great commanders, all this comes from 
want of skill in dancing. 

M. JOUR. How is that? 

Mus.-MAS. Does not war proceed from want of concord 
among men ? 

M. JOUR. That is true. 

Mus.-MAS. And if every one were to learn music, would 
that not be the means of harmonizing together, and of 
seeing universal peace in the world? 

M. JOUR. You are right. 

DAN.-MAS. When a man has committed an error in his 
conduct, be it in family affairs, or in the government of a 
State, or in the command of an army, is it not always 
said : So-and-so has made a false step in such-and-such an 

M. JOUR. Yes, that is what people say. 

DAN.-MAS. And can a false step proceed from aught else 
than from not knowing how to dance? 

M. JOUR. That is true, and you are right, both of you. 

DAN.-MAS. That will show you the excellence and the 
Utility of dancing and music. 4 

4 It is said that Marcel, a well-known male dancer of the last century, 
pretended to know a politician by his steps in dancing ; and that Vestris, 


M. JOUR. I perceive it at a glance. 

Mus.-MAS. Will you look at our two compositions? 

M. JOUR. Yes. 

Mus.-MAS. I have already told you that it is a short essay 
that I composed formerly upon the different passions which 
music can express, 

M. JOUR. Very well. 

MUS.-MAS. ( To the Musicians} Come, step forward. {To 
M. Jourdain), You are to imagine that they are dressed as 

M. JOUR. Why always as shepherds? Nothing else is 
seen anywhere. 

DAN. -MAS. When we have to make people speak in 
music, it is necessary that, for probability's sake, we take 
to the pastoral. Song has from the earliest times been 
affected by shepherds; and it is not at all natural that 
princes or citizens should sing their passions in dialogue. 5 

M. JOUR. Proceed, proceed. Let us see what it is. 



FEM. M. A heart, when under love's empire, 

By thousand cares is always swayed. 

It's said that people find a pleasure in languish- 
ing, in sighing; 

But whatever may be said-, 

Nothing is so sweet as liberty. 
IST Mus. There's nought so sweet as the tender ardour 

Which binds two hearts in self-same flame; 

People cannot be happy without an amorous 
passion ; 

Take love away from life, 

You take away its pleasures. 

another gentleman of the same profession, and of nearly the same period, 
said in a serious manner, " There are only three great men in Europe : 
the King of Prussia, Voltaire, and myself." 

6 This is a hit against the grand Italian opera which Mazarin had intro- 
duced in 1645. Only one year before The Citizen who apes the Noble- 
man was represented, the Academie royale de Musiqtie had been insti- 



2D Mus. Sweet it would be to bow to love's sway 

If constancy were to be found in love ; 

But, alas ! O severe cruelty ! 

We see no faithful shepherdess ; 

And this fickle sex, too unworthy to live, 

Is the cause that we for ever abandon love. 
IST Mus. Amiable ardour ! 
FEM. M. Happy independence } 
2D Mus. Deceitful sex ! 
IST Mus. How dear you are to me ! 
FEM. M. How you delight my heart ! 
2D Mus. How I abhor you ! 
IST Mus. Abandon, for love, this mortal hate ! 
FEM. M. We can, we can show you 

A faithful shepherdess. 

2D Mus. Alas ! where could we see one now ? 
FEM. M. In defence of our glory, 

I offer you my heart. 
20 Mus. But can I believe, shepherdess, 

That you will not deceive me? 
FEM. M. Let us see, by experience, 

Who of us two shall love best. 
20 Mus. Whoever shall be inconstant, 

May the gods punish him ! 
ALL THREE. Let our hearts be kindled 

By so fair a flame ; 

Ah ! how sweet it is to love, 

When two hearts are faithful. 
M. JOUR. Is this all ? 
Mus. -MAS. Yes. 

M. JOUR. I think it nicely arranged, and there are 
some little sayings in it which are rather pretty. 

DAN. -MAS. Now for my share, a little essay of the 
nicest movements and the most beautiful attitudes with 
which a dance can be varied. 

M. JOUR. Are they shepherds too ? 
DAN. -MAS. They will be what you please. (To the 
Dancers}. Come ! 


Four Dancers execute the various movements and all kinds 
of steps which the Dancing-Master orders them. 




M. JOUR. This is not at all bad ; and these folks trip it 
very well. 

MUS.-MAS. When the dance shall be accompanied by 
the music, it will have greater effect still ; and you shall 
see something very gallant in the little ballet which we 
have put together for you. 

M. JOUR. That will be for by-and-by, mind ! and the 
personage for whom I have had all this arranged is to do 
me the honour of coming to dine here. 

DAN. -MAS. Everything is ready. 

Mus.-MAS. Besides, Sir, this is not enough; a person 
like you, who are so splendid, and who have an inclina- 
tion for beautiful things, should have a concert at his 
house every Wednesday or Thursday. 7 

M. JOUR. Do people of quality have it ? 

Mus.-MAS. Yes, Sir. 

M. JOUR. Then I shall have it. Will it be nice ? 

Mus.-MAS. Undoubtedly. You must have three voices, 
a treble, a counter-tenor, and a bass, which must be ac- 
companied by a bass viol, a theorbo-lute, and a harpsi- 
chord for the thorough-basses, with two violins to play 
the refrains. 

M. JOUR. We ought also to have a trumpet-marine. 8 
The trumpet-marine is an instrument that pleases me, and 
is very harmonious. 

6 The acts of this play are separated by interludes ; but as the same 
persons are always on the stage, nothing would be easier than to unite 
the five acts ; for The Citizen who apes the Nobleman is in reality a comedy 
in one act, separated by entrees de ballet. In the official libretto, it has 
only three acts, and the first '' entry " does not divide the first and second 

1 These two days appear to have been specially selected for private 
musical parties, because then no representation took place at the Opera. 
But in winter, the Thursday was an opera-night, and generally devoted to 
the production of new pieces. 

8 A trumpet-marine has nothing to do with the navy; but it is an 
ancient specimen of one-string instrument, played with a bow, and pro- 
ducing a sound resembling that of a trumpet. 


MUS.-MAS. Let us arrange matters. 

M. JOUR. At any rate, do not forget to send me some 
musicians by-and-by to sing at table. 

Mus.-MAS. You shall have all that is necessary. 

M. JOUR. But, above all, let the ballet be nice. 

Mus.-MAS. You will be pleased with it ; and, amongst 
other things, with certain minuets which you shall see in 

M. JOUR. Ah ! minuets are my dance, and I wish you 
to see me perform one. Come, master. 

DAN. -MAS. A hat, Sir, if you please. {M.Jourdain 
takes the hat from his lacquey, and puts it on the top of his 
night-cap. The teacher takes hold of his hands, and makes 
him dance to a minuet air, which he hums}. La, la, la, la, 
la, la; la, la, la, la, la, la; la, la, la, la, la, la; la, la, la, 
la, la. In time, if you please. La, la, la, la, la. The 
right leg, la, la, la. Do not move your shoulders so much. 
La, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la. Your two arms are dis- 
abled. La, la, la, la, la. Hold up your head. Turn the 
point of the foot outwards. La, la, la. Your body 

M. JOUR. Eh ! 

MUS.-MAS. It could not possibly be better. 

M. JOUR. While I think of it ! just teach me how I 
must bow to salute a marchioness ; I shall have occasion 
for it by-and-by. 

DAN.-MAS. A bow to salute a marchioness? 

M. JOUR. Yes. A marchioness whose name is Dorimene. 

DAN.-MAS. Give me your hand. 

M. JOUR. No. You just show me ; I shall remember it 
quite well. 

DAN.-MAS. If you wish to salute her with a great deal 
of respect, you must first of all bow, stepping backward, 
then come towards her, bowing three times, and at the 
last one down to her very knees. 

M. JOUR. Just show me a little. {After the dancing- 
master has made three bows) Right. 


LAC. Sir, your fencing-master is here. 


M. JOUR. Tell him to come in here to give me my les- 
son. (To the Music and Dancing-Masters}, I wish you to 
see me at it. 

TER, DANCING-MASTER, LACQUEY, carrying two foils. 

FEN. -MAS. (After having taken two foils from the hand 
of the lacquey \ and having presented one to M. Jourd&in), 
Come, Sir, salute. Your body straight. Lean a little on 
the left thigh. Your legs not so far from each other. 
Your feet on the same line. Your wrist opposite your 
hip. The point of your sword facing your shoulder. 
Your arm not quite so straight. The left hand on a level 
with your eye. The left shoulder more squared. Your 
head erect. A bold look. Advance. Your body steady. 
Thrust carte, and finish off the same. One, two. Reco- 
ver. Once more, your feet firm. A leap back. When 
you make a pass, your sword should be disengaged, and 
your body kept in as much as possible. One, two, thrust 
tierce, and finish the same. Advance, the body firm. 
Advance. Disengage. One, two. Recover. Once more, 
one, two. A leap back. Parry, parry, Sir. (The Fencing- 
Master makes two or three feints at him, in saying: parry.*) 

M. JOUR. Eh ! 

Mus.-MAS. Admirable. 

FEN. -MAS. I have already told you, the whole secret 
of fencing consists but in two things, to give and not to 
receive ; and as I showed you the other day by demon- 
strative reason, it is impossible for you to be hit, if you 
know how to turn the sword of your enemy from the line 
of your body ; which depends only on a slight motion of 
the wrist, either inwards or outwards. 

M. JOUR. In that manner, then, a man without having 
any courage, is sure of killing his man, and of not being 
killed himself? 

FEN. -MAS. Undoubtedly ; did you not see it demon- 
strated ? 

M. JOUR. Yes. 

FEN. -MAS. And from this you may see what impor- 
tance we must be to the State ; and how highly the science 


of arms excels all the other useless sciences, such as danc- 
ing, music . . . 

DAN. -MAS. Gently, Mr. fencing-master ! please not to 
speak of dancing, except with respect. 

Mus.-MAS. Learn, pray, to treat the excellence of 
music somewhat better. 

FEN. -MAS. You are very funny people, truly, to wish 
to compare your sciences to mine ! 

Mus.-MAS. Just look at the importance of the man ! 

DAN. -MAS. A funny animal, surely, with his plastron. 

FEN.-MAS. My little dancing-master, I shall make you 
dance properly directly. And you, little musician, I shall 
make you sing prettily. 

DAN.-MAS. Master iron-beater, I shall teach you your 

M. JOUR. (To the Dancing-Master). Are you mad to 
go and seek a quarrel with him, who understands tierce 
and carte, and who knows how to kill a man by demon- 
strative reason ? 

DAN.-MAS. I laugh at his demonstrative reason, and at 
his tierce, and his carte. 

M. JOUR. (To the, Dancing-Master}. Gently, I tell 
you ! 

FEN.-MAS. (To the Dancing-Master). How! you little 
impertinent fellow ! 

M. JOUR. He ! Mr. fencing-master. 

DAN.-MAS. (To the fencing-Master). How, you great 
coach-horse ! 

M. JOUR. Eh ! Mr. dancing-master ! 

FEN.-MAS. If I were to fall upon you . . . 

M. JOUR. (To the fencing Master}. Gently! 

DAN.-MAS. If I were to. lay hands on you . . . 

M. JOUR. (To the fencing- Master). Softly ! 

FEN.-MAS. I shall currycomb you in such a manner 

M. JOUR. (To the fencing- Master). Pray! 

DAN.-MAS. I shall drub you in such style . . . 

M. Jour. (To the Dancing-Master). Let me beg of 
you . . . 

Mus.-MAS. Just leave it to us to teach him how to 


M. JOUR. Good Heavens ! stop. 


M. JOUR. Hullo ! Mr. Philosopher, you arrived just in 
time with your philosophy. Pray, come and restore peace 
a little between these people. 

PRO. What is the matter then ? what is amiss, gentle- 

M. JOUR. They have got angry about the preference of 
their professions to such an extent as to insult each other, 
and to wish to come to blows. 

PRO. How now, gentlemen ! is it right to get angry 
in that way? and have you not read the learned treatise 
that Seneca has composed about anger? Is there aught 
more vile and shameful than this passion, which changes 
man into a ferocious animal ? and ought reason not to be 
the mistress of all our actions ? 

DAN. -MAS. What, Sir ! he comes to insult us both, in 
despising dancing which I practice, and music, which is 
his profession ! 

PRO. A wise man is above all the insults which one can 
give him ; and the great answer one ought to give to all 
outrages, is moderation and patience. 

FEN. -MAS. They both had the audacity to wish to com- 
pare their professions to mine ! 

PRO. Should that disturb you ? Men should not dispute 
about vain-glory and rank among themselves; and that 
which distinguishes us perfectly one from another, is 
wisdom and virtue. 

DAN. -MAS. I maintain to him that dancing is a science 
to which too great an honour cannot be paid. 

Mus.-MAS. And I, that music is one to which every age 
has paid reverence. 

FEN. -MAS. And I, I maintain against them both that 
the science of handling arms is the most beautiful and 
necessary of all sciences. 

PRO. And what will become of philosophy then? 
I think you all three very impertinent in speaking before 
me with this arrogance, and in impudently applying the 


name of science to things which ought not even to be 
honoured with the name of art, and which can only be 
comprised under the miserable trade of gladiator, singer, 
and mountebank ! 

FEN.-MAS. Away with you, you philosophic cur. 

Mus.-MAS. Away with you, you pedantic noodle. 

DAN.-MAS. Away with you, you arrant college-scout. 

PRO. What ! you miserable boobies. . . . ( The Philo- 
sopher falls upon them, and the three belabour him with 

M. JOUR. Mr. Philosopher ! 

PRO. Rogues, infamous, insolent wretches. 

M. JOUR. Mr. Philosopher ! 

FEN.-MAS. Plague upon the beast ! 

M. JOUR. Gentlemen ! 

PRO. Impertinent wretches ! 

M. JOUR. Mr. Philosopher. 

DAN.-MAS. Devil take the stupid ass ! 

M. JOUR. Gentlemen ! 

PRO. Wretches ! 

M. JOUR. Mr. Philosopher ! 

Mus.-MAS. To the devil with the impertinent fellow ! 

M. JOUR. Gentlemen ! 

PRO. Rogues, beggars, wretches, impostors ! 

M. JOUR. Mr. Philosopher ! Gentlemen ! Mr. Philoso- 
pher ! Gentlemen ! Mr. Philosopher ! 

(They go out, fighting together. 


M. JOUK. Oh ! fight as much as you like : I shall not 
interfere with you, and spoil my gown in separating you. 
I should be very foolish to thrust myself among them, and 
get some blows that might hurt me. 


PRO. (Putting his collar straight}. Now for our lesson. 

M. JOUR. Ah, Sir, I am sorry for the blows they have 
given you. 

PRO. It is nothing. A philosopher knows how to take 
these things ; and I shall compose against them a satire in 


the style of Juvenal, which shall cut them up most glori- 
ously. Let that pass. What have you a mind to learn ? 

M. JOUR. Whatever I can ; for I have every possible 
desire to be learned ; and it drives me mad to think that 
my father and mother did not make me study all the sci- 
ences when I was young. 

PRO. That is a reasonable feeling ; nam, sine doctrina, 
vita est quasi mortis imago. You understand that, and you 
know Latin, no doubt? 

M. JOUR. Yes ; but do as if I did not know it. Explain 
to me what that means. 

PRO. It means that, without knowledge life is as it were 
an image of death. 

M. JOUR. That Latin is right. 

PRO. Have you not some principles, some rudiments of 
the sciences ? 

M. JOUR. Oh yes ! I know how to read and write. 

PRO. Where would you have us to begin, if you please ? 9 
Would you like me to teach you logic ? 

M. JOUR. What may this logic be ? 

PRO. It is that which teaches the three operations of the 

M. JOUR. What are they, these three operations of the 

PRO. The first, the second, and the third. The first is 
to conceive well, by means of universals ; the second, to" 
judge well, by means of categories; and the third, to 
draw a conclusion properly by means of figures; Bar- 
bara, Celarent, Darii, Ferio, Baralipton^ 

M. JOUR. These words stick in my throat too much. 
This logic does not seem to suit me. Let us learn some- 
thing more pretty. 

PRO. Will you learn moral philosophy ? 

There is some analogy between this dialogue and one from Aristo- 
phanes' Clouds between Socrates and Strepsiades. 

10 Universals and categories are words belonging to the antiquated 
jargon of logic. The barbarous words from Barbara to Baralipton were 
a kind of memoria technica to remember the nineteen regular syllogisms, 
formerly taught in the schools. Each word is formed of three syllables, 
representing the three propositions of a syllogism, and the vowel of each 
syllable shows the nature of each proposition. See also The Forced Mar- 
riage, Vol. I., page 484, note II. 


M. JOUR. Moral philosophy ? 

PRO. Yes. 

M. JOUR. What does it say, this moral philosophy? 

PRO. It treats of happiness, teaches men to moderate 
their passions, and . . . 

M. JOUR. No ; let us leave that. I am choleric like 
the very devil ; and in spite of morality, I will put my- 
self in a passion as much as I like, when the fit takes 

PRO. Will you learn physics? 

M. JOUR. What does this physics say for itself? 

PRO. Physics is that which explains the principles of 
things natural, and the properties of bodies ; which dis- 
courses of the nature of elements, of metals, of minerals, 
of stones, of plants and animals, and teaches us the causes 
of all the meteors, the rainbow, wills-o'-the-wisp, comets, 
lightning, thunder, thunder-bolts, rain, snow, hail, winds, 
and whirlwinds. u 

M. JOUR. There is too much hurly-burly in this, too 
much confusion. 

PRO. What is it you wish me to teach you then ? 

M. JOUR. Teach me orthography. 

PRO. With all my heart. 

M. JOUR. Afterwards you shall teach me the almanac, 
that I may know when there is a moon, and when not. 

PRO. Be it so. To pursue this thought of yours in the 
right way, and treat this matter as a philosopher, we must 
begin, according to the order of things, with an exact 
knowledge of the nature of letters, and the different ways 
of pronouncing them all. And on this head, I must tell 
you that letters are divided into vowels, called vowels be- 
cause they express the voice; and into consonants, called 
consonants because they are sounded with the vowels, and 

11 This passage seems to be imitated from Lucretius On the Nature of 
Tilings, Book V., line 1189-1193, which says: "Through the sky the 
night and the moon are seen to revolve ; the moon, I say, the day and the 
night, and the august constellations of the night, and the nocturnal lumi- 
naries of the heavens, and the flying meteors, as well as the cloud?, the 
sun, rain, snow, winds, lightnings, hail, and the vehement noises and loud 
threatening murmurs of the thunder." See also Introductory Notice to 
The Misanthrope, Vol. II. 


only mark the various articulations of the voice. There 
are five vowels or voices : A, E. I, O, U. u 

M. JOUR. I understand all that. 

PRO. The vowel A is formed by opening the mouth 
very wide : A. 

M. JOUR. A, A. Yes. 

PRO. The vowel E is formed by drawing the lower jaw 
near to the upper : A, E. 

M. JOUR. A, E, A, E. Indeed it is. Ah ! how pretty 
that is. 

PRO. And the vowel I, by drawing the jaws still nearer 
to one another, and stretching the two corners of the 
mouth towards the ears : A, E, I. 

M. JOUR. A, E, I, I, I, I. There is truth in that. 
Long life to science ! 

PRO. The vowel O is formed by re-opening the jaws, 
and by drawing in the lips at the two corners, the upper 
and lower : O. 

M. JOUR. O, O. Nothing can be more correct. A, E, 
I, O, I, O. That is admirable ! I, O ; I, O. 

PRO. The opening of the mouth makes exactly a little 
ring, which represents an O. 

M. JOUR. O, O, O. You are right. O. Ah ! how nice 
it is to know something ! 

PRO. The vowel U is formed by bringing the teeth 
together without altogether joining them, and pouting 
both lips outwardly, bringing them likewise together, 
without absolutely joining them : U. 

M. JOUR. U, U. Nothing could be more true : U. 

PRO. Your two lips must pout out, as if you were 
making faces ; so that if you wish to make them to some 
one, and to make fun of him, you have but to say U. 

n It is said that Moliere owes the idea of the pronunciation of the vowels 
in French which is different from the English to a work of M. de Cor- 
demoy, called Discours physique de la Parole, which was dedicated to 
Louis XIV., and published two years before Moliere's play was acted, 
This work is a translation of a Latin treatise on the same subject, written 
in the fifteenth century by Galeotus, which treatise our dramatist seems 
also to have known. That, however, the pronunciation of the vowels 
may be well and scientifically treated, may be seen in Prof. Max Miiller's 
Lectures on the Science of Language, 2d Series, pp. 115-125. 


M. JOUR. That is true. U, U. Ah ! why did I not 
study earlier to know all this ! 

PRO. To-morrow, we shall pass in review the other 
letters, which are the consonants. 

M. JOUR. Is there anything as curious in them as in 
these ? 

PRO. Undoubtedly. The consonant D, for instance, is 
pronounced by clapping the tip of the tongue above the 
upper teeth : DA. 

M. JOUR. DA, DA. Yes ! Ah ! the charming things ! 
the charming things ! 

PRO. The F, in pressing the upper teeth on the lower 
lip: FA. 

M. JOUR. FA, FA. It is the truth. Ah ! father and 
mother, what a grudge I owe you ! 

PRO. And the R, by bringing the tip of the tongue to 
the top of the palate ; so that being grazed by the air 
which rushes out with a certain strength, it yields to it, 
and always comes back to the same place, causing a kind 
of thrill : R, RA. 

M. JOUR. R, R, RA j R, R, R, R, R, RA. That is true. 
Ah ! What a clever man you are, and how have I lost my 
time ! R, R, R, RA. 

PRO. I shall explain all these peculiarities more fully to 

M. JOUR. Pray do. Besides, I must impart something 
in great confidence to you. I am in love with a person of 
great quality, and I should like you to help to write some- 
thing to her in a small note which I intend to drop at her 

PRO. Very well ! 

M. JOUR. It will be gallant, will it not ? 

PRO. Undoubtedly. Are they verses which you wish 
to write to her ? 

M. JOUR. No no ; no verses. 

PRO. You wish only prose? 

M. JOUR. I wish neither prose nor verse. 

PRO. It must be one or the other. 

M. JOUR. Why so ? 

PRO. For the reason, Sir, that, to express one's self, 
there is only prose or verse. 


M. JOUR. There is nothing but prose or verse? 

PRO. No Sir. All that is not prose is verse, and all that 
is not verse is prose. 

M. JOUR. And what is it when we speak ? 

PRO. Prose. 

M. JOUR. What ! when I say : Nicole, bring me my 
slippers, and give me my night-cap, is that prose? 18 

PRO. Yes, Sir. 

M. JOUR. On my word, I have been speaking prose for 
more than forty years, without being aware of it; and 
I am most obliged to you for having informed me of it, 
Well, then, I should like to put in a note : Fair marchion- 
ess, your beautiful eyes make me die with love; but I 
should like this put in a gallant manner, nicely turned. 

PRO. You would like to put, that the fire of her eyes 
has reduced your heart to ashes ; that day and night you 
suffer on account of her the tortures of ... 

M. JOUR. No, no, no, I do not wish all that. I simply 
wish what I tell you : Fair marchioness, your beautiful eyes 
make me die with love. 

PRO. The matter must be somewhat amplified. 

M. JOUR. No, I tell you. I wish nothing but these 
words in that note; but turned fashionably, arranged as 
they should be. Pray tell me, just that I may see, the 
ways in which they could be put. 

PRO. First of all, they could be put as you have said : 
Fair marchioness, your beautiful eyes make me die with love. 
Or else : with love they make me die, fair marchioness, your 
beautiful eyes. Or else : your beautiful eyes with love make 
me, fair marchioness, die. Or else : die, your beautiful eyes, 
fair marchioness, make me. Or else : me make your beau- 
tiful eyes die, fair marchioness, with love. 

M. JOUR. But of all these ways which is the best ? 

PRO. The one you said : Fair marchioness, your beauti- 
ful eyes make me die with love. 

M. JOUR. Yet for all that, I did not study; and I did it 
at once. I thank you with all my heart, and beg of you 
to come early to-morrow. 

18 This exclamation is said to have been uttered by the Count de 
Soissons, if we may believe a letter of Mad. de S^vigne. dated June lath, 


PRO. I shall not fail. 


M. JOUR. {To his Lacquey}. What, has my suit not come 

LAC. No, Sir. 

M. JOUR. This confounded tailor keeps me waiting long 
enough, and just a day when I have so much to do. I 
burst with rage. May the quartan fever catch this villain 
of a tailor ! To the devil with the tailor ! may the plague 
choke the tailor. If I had him here now, this detestable 
tailor, this cur of a tailor, this wretch of a tailor, I ... 

ASSISTANT, carrying the clothes of M. Jourdain, A LACQUEY. 

M, JOUR. Ah ! you are there. I was just going to get 
in a rage with you. 14 

TAIL. I could not come sooner, and I set twenty hands 
to work at your coat. 

M. JOUR. The silk stockings you sent me are so tight 
that I have had all the trouble in the world to put them 
on, and there are already two stitches broken in them. 

TAIL. They will be but too large soon enough. 

M. JOUR. Yes, if I go on breaking the stitches. The 
shoes which you made for me hurt me also tremendously. 1 * 

TAIL. Not at all, Sir. 

M. JOUR. How ! not at all ? 

TAIL. No, they do not hurt you. 

M. JOUR. I tell you they do hurt me. 

TAIL. You imagine so. 

M. JOUR. I imagine so because I feel it. A nice argu- 
ment that is. 

TAIL. There, this is the handsomest coat at the Court, 
and the most suitable. It is a work of art to have invented 
a sober coat, that was not black, and I will allow the 
cleverest tailors to try six times to do the like. 

14 The very polite way in which M. Jourdain addresses the tailor, after 
having stormed against him, produces a very ridiculous effect, 

15 At the time Moliere wrote, the tailor sold everything belonging to 
the dress of a gentleman. 


M. JOUR. What is this? You have put the flowers with 
the stalks upwards. 

TAIL. You did not say that you wanted them down- 

M. JOUR. Is it necessary to say so? 

TAIL. Indeed it is. All people of quality wear them in 
this way. 

M. JOUR. People of quality wear their flowers with the 
stalks upwards? 

TAIL. Yes, Sir ! 

M. JOUR. Oh ! then it is all right. 

TAIL. If you wish, I will put them with the stalks 

M. JOUR. No, no. 

TAIL. You have but to say so. 

M. JOUR. No, I tell you, you have done right. Do 
you think that my coat suits me ? 

TAIL. A pretty question ! I defy a painter, with his 
brush, to make you anything that fits better. I have an 
assistant at home, who, for mounting a rhingrave is the 
greatest genius in the world; another who in putting 
together a doublet is the hero of our age. 

M. JOUR. The wig and the feathers, are they as they 
ought to be? 

TAIL. Everything is right. 

M. JOUR. (Looking at the tailor's coat). Ah, ah ! Mr. 
Tailor, here is some of the stuff of the last suit which 
you made for me. I recognize it well enough. 

TAIL. The stuff seemed so nice to me that I wished to 
treat myself to a coat of it. 

M. JOUR. Yes, but you ought not to have treated your- 
self with my stuff. 

TAIL. Do you wish to put your coat on ? 

M. JOUR. Yes, give it me. 

TAIL. Stay, we must not do things like this. I have 
brought some people with me to dress you to music, and 
these kinds of coats are put on with ceremony. Hullo ! 
come in, you. 

w See The Misanthrope, Vol. II., page 206, note 8. 



TAIL. (To his assistants). Put this gentleman's coat 
on him, in the way you do to people of quality. 

First Entry of the Ballet, 

The four dancing tailor's assistants draw close to M. 
Jourdain. Two of them pull off his breeches, two others his 
jacket, after which they put on his new suit, always to 
music. M. Jourdain walks round in the midst of them, 
to see whether his dress fits him. 

Assis. My lord, please to give the assistants something 
to drink your health with. 

M. JOUR. What do you call me ? 

TAIL. My lord. 

M. JOUR. My lord ! That comes from being dressed 
like a person of quality ! If you go on for ever in the 
garb of a citizen, no one will say to you, my lord. 
( Giving him some money). There, this is for my lord. 

Assis. Your excellency, we are infinitely obliged to 

M. JOUR. Your excellency ! Oh ! oh ! Wait a minute, 
friend. Your excellency deserves something ; it is not a 
small word that, your excellency ! There, that is what 
your excellency gives you. 

Assis. Your excellency, we shall drink your grace's 

M. JOUR. Your grace ! Oh ! oh ! oh ! Wait a minute, 
do not go yet. Your grace ! (Softly, aside). Upon my 
word, if he goes as far as Highness, he shall have the 
whole purse. (Aloud). There, that is for my grace. 

Assis. Your excellency, we humbly thank you for your 

M. JOUR. Indeed, he has done right. I was going to 
give him all. 

Second Entry of the Ballet. 

The four assistants rejoice, dancing over the generosity of 
M. Jourdain. 




M. JOUR. Follow me, that I may go and show my suit 
ia town, and take care, above all, to walk both close to 
my heels, so that the people may see that you belong to 

LAC. Yes, Sir. 

M. JOUR. Just call Nicole, that I may give her some 
orders. Do not stir ; here she is. 


M. JOUR. Nicole! 

NIC. Please? 

M. JOUR. Listen. 

NIC. {Laughing). Hi, hi, hi, hi, hi." 

M. JOUR. What have you to laugh at ? 

NIC. {Laughing). Hi, hi, hi, hi, hi, hi. 

M. JOUR. What does this slut mean ? 

NIC. Hi, hi, hi. How you are built ! Hi, hi, hi. 

M. JOUR. How is that? 

NIC. Ah ! ah ! good Heaven ! Hi, hi, hi, hi, hi. 

M. JOUR. What jade is this? Are you making a fool 
of me? 

NIC. Not at all, Sir; I should be very sorry. Hi, hi, 
hi, hi, hi. 

M. JOUR. I shall tap you on the nose, if you laugh any 

NIC. I cannot help it, Sir. Hi, hi, hi, hi, hi, hi. 

M. JOUR. Will you not stop ? 

NIC. I really beg your pardon, Sir; but you look so 
ridiculous, that I cannot keep myself from laughing. Hi, 
hi, hi. 

M. JOUR. Did you ever see such insolence ? 

NIC. You are altogether so funny. Hi, hi. 

M. JOUR. I shall . . . 

17 The actress who played this part was Mademoiselle Beauval, who 
had the misfortune of nearly always laughing when on the stage, which 
displeased the King. Moliere wrote Nicole on purpose for her ; and she 
acted it so well, and laughed so naturally, that Louis XIV. approved of 

VOL. III. p 


NIC. I beg of you to excuse me. Hi, hi, hi, hi. 

M. JOUR. Look here, if you laugh again in the least, I 
swear to you that I shall give you one of the finest boxes 
on the ear that ever was given. 

NIC. Well, then, Sir, I have done, I shall laugh no 

M. JOUR. You had best be careful. You must by- 
and-by clean . . . 

NIC. 'Hi, hi. 

M. JOUR. You must clean properly . . . 

NIC. Hi, hi. 

M. JOUR. You must, I say, clean the drawing-room, 
and . . . 

NIC. Hi, hi. 

M. JOUR. What again ? 

NIC. (falls down with laughing). There, Sir, beat me 
rather, but let me have my laugh out ; that will do me 
more good. Hi, hi, hi, hi, hi. 

M. JOUR. I am bursting with rage. 

NIC. Pray Sir, I beg of you, let me laugh. Hi, hi, hi. 

M. JOUR. If I take you . . . 

NIC. I shall burst if I do not laugh, Sir. Hi, hi, hi. 

M. JOUR. Did one ever see such a hussy as this, who 
comes and laughs insolently in my face, instead of attend- 
ing to my orders ? 

NIC. What do you wish me to do, Sir? 

M. JOUR. That you take care, you slut, to get the place 
ready for the company which is to be here by-and-by. 

NIC. (Getting up}. Ah ! upon my word, I have no more 
inclination to laugh ; for all your company makes such a 
litter here, that this word is enough to put me out of 

M. JOUR. Would you have me shut my door against 
society to please you? 

NIC. You ought at least to shut it against certain people. 


MRS. JOUR. Ha ! ha ! this is something new again ! What 
is the meaning of this curious get-up, husband ? Are you 
setting the world at nought to deck yourself out in this 


fashion? and do you wish to become a laughing-stock 
everywhere ? 

M. JOUR. None but he-fools and she-fools will make a 
laughing-stock of me, wife. 

MRS. JOUR. In truth, they have not waited until now ; 
and all the world has been laughing for a long while already 
at your vagaries. 

M. JOUR. Who is all this world, pray? 

MRS. JOUR. All this world is a world which is right, and 
which has more sense than you have. As for myself, 
I am disgusted with the life which you lead. I do not 
know whether this is our own house or not. One would 
think it is Shrove Tuesday 18 every day ; and from early 
morn, for fear of being too late, one hears nothing but the 
noise of fiddles and singers disturbing the whole neighbour- 

NIC. The mistress is right. I shall never see the ship- 
shape again with this heap of people that you bring to 
your house. They have feet that pick up the mud in every 
quarter of the town to bring it in here afterwards ; and 
poor Francoise is almost worked off her legs, with rubbing 
the floors which your pretty tutors come to dirty again 
regularly every day. 

M. JOUR. Good gracious ! Miss Nicole, your tongue is 
sharp enough for a country-lass ! 

MRS. JOUR. Nicole is right ; and she has more sense 
than you have. I should much like to know what you 
want with a dancing-master, at your age. 

NIC. And with a great hulking fencing-master, who 
shakes the whole house with his stamping, and uproots all 
the floor-tiles in our big room. 

M. JOUR. Hold your tongues, you girl and my wife. 

MRS. JOUR. Do you wish to learn dancing against the 
time when you shall have no longer any legs ? 

NIC. Do you want to kill any one ? 

M. JOUR. Hold your tongues, I tell you : you are igno- 
rant women, both of you; and you do not know the ben- 
efits of all this. 

MRS. JOUR. You ought rather to think of seeing your 
daughter married, who is of an age to be provided for. 

18 In the original, careme-prenant, the days which precede Lent. 


M. JOUR. I shall think of seeing my daughter married 
when a suitable party shall present himself for her ; but I 
shall also think of acquiring some polite learning. 

NIC. I have also heard, Mistress, that for fear of short- 
coming, he has taken a philosophy-master to-day. 

M. JOUR. Very good. I wish to improve my mind, and 
to know how to argue about things amongst gentle-folks. 

MRS. JOUR. Shall you not go, one of these days, to 
school, to get the birch, at your age ? 

M. JOUR. Why not ? Would to heaven I could have 
the birch at this hour before everybody, and that I could 
know all that they teach at school ! 

NIC. Yes, indeed ! that would improve your legs. 

M. JOUR. No doubt it would. 

MRS. JOUR. All this is highly necessary to manage your 
house ! 

M. JOUR. Assuredly. You both talk like fools, and I 
am ashamed at your ignorance. (To Mrs. Jourdain^) 
For instance, do you know what you are saying at this 
moment ? 

MRS. JOUR. Yes. I know that what I say is very well 
said, and that you ought to think of leading a different life. 

M. JOUR. I am not speaking of that. I am asking you 
what these words are which you are speaking just now. 

MRS. JOUR. They are very sensible words, and your 
conduct is scarcely so. 

M. JOUR. I am not speaking of that, I tell you. I ask 
you, what I am speaking with you, what I am saying to 
you at this moment, what that is? 

MRS. JOUR. Nonsense. 

M. JOUR. He, no, that is not it. What we are saying 
both of us, the language we are speaking at this moment? 

MRS. JOUR. Well? 

M. JOUR. What is it called? 

MRS. JOUR. It is called whatever you. like. 

M. JOUR. It is prose, you stupid. 

MRS. JOUR. Prose? 

M. JOUR. Yes, prose. Whatever is prose is not verse, 
and whatever is not verse is prose. Eh ? that comes from 
studying. ( To Nicole?) And do you know what you are 
to do to say U ? 


NIC. How? 

M. JOUR. Yes. What do you do when you say U ? 

NIC. What? 

M. JOUR. Say U, just to see. 

NIC. Well ! U. 

M. JOUR. What do you do ? 

NIC. I say U. 

M. JOUR. Yes ; but when you say U what do you do ? 

NIC. I do what you tell me to do. 

M. JOUR. Oh ! what a strange thing to have to do with 
fools ? You pout the lips outwards, and bring the upper 
jaw near the lower one ; U, do you see ? I make a 
mouth, U. 

NIC. Yes : that is fine. 

MRS. JOUR. That is admirable ! 

M. JOUR. It is quite another thing, if you had seen O, 
and DA, DA, and FA, FA. 

MRS. JOUR. But what is all this gibberish ? 

NIC. What aVe we the better for all this? 

M. JOUR. It drives me mad when I see ignorant 

MRS. JOUR. Go, you should send all these people about 
their business, with their silly stuff. 

NIC. And above all, this great lout of a fencing-master, 
who fills the whole of my place with dust. 

M. JOUR. Lord ! this fencing-master sticks strangely in 
your gizzard ! I will let you see your impertinence di- 
rectly. (After having had the foils brought, and giving one 
of them to Nicole.} Stay, reason demonstrative. The 
line of the body. When one thrusts in carte, one has but 
to do so, and when one thrusts in tierce, one has but to 
do so. This is the way never to be killed ; and is it not 
very fine to be sure of one's game when one has to fight 
somebody? There, just thrust at me, to see. 

(Nicole thrusts several times at M. Jourdain. 

NIC. Well, what ! 

M. JOUR. Gently ! Hullo ! ho ! Softly ! The devil take 
the hussy ! 

NIC. You tell me to thrust at you. 

M. JOUR. Yes ; but you thrust in tierce, before thrust- 


ing at me in carte, and you do not wait for me to 

MRS. JOUR. You are mad, husband, with all your fan- 
cies ; and this has come to you only since you have taken 
it in your head to frequent the nobility. 

M. JOUR. When I frequent the nobility, I show my 
judgment ; and it is better than to frequent your citizens. 

MRS. JOUR. Indeed ! 19 really there is much to gain by 
frequenting your nobles ; and you have done a great deal 
of good with this beautiful count, with whom you are so 
smitten ! 

M. JOUR. Peace ; take care what you say. Do you 
know, wife, that you do not know of whom you are 
speaking, when you speak of him ? He is a personage 
of greater importance than you think, a nobleman who is 
held in great consideration at court, and who speaks to 
the King just as I speak to you. Is it not a great honour 
to me to see a person of such standing come so frequently 
to my house, who calls me his dear friend, and who treats 
me as if I were his equal ? He has more kindness for me 
than one would ever imagine, and, before all the world, 
shows me such affection, that I am perfectly confused 
by it. 

MRS. JOUR. Yes, he shows you kindness and affection ; 
but he borrows your money. 

M. JOUR. Well, is it not an honour to lend money to a 
man of that condition ? and can I do less for a nobleman 
who calls me his dear friend ? 

MRS. JOUR. And this nobleman, what does he do for 
you ? 

M. JOUR. Things you would be astonished at, if you 
knew them. 

MRS. JOUR. But what ? 

M. JOUR. That will do ! I cannot explain myself. It 
is enough that if I have lent him money, he will return it 
to me, and before long. 

MRS. JOUR. Yes, you had better wait for it. 

19 The original has famon vraiment ! Genin, in his Lexigue compare 
de la langue de Moliere, remarks that famon is formed from ce a. man, and 
was used as an affirmative exclamation ; it was also sometimes employed 
with a negative, as ce n a man. 


M. JOUR. Assuredly. Has he not said so ? 

MRS. JOUR. Yes, yes, he will be sure not to fail in it. 

M. JOUR. He has given me his word as a nobleman. 

MRS. JOUR. Stuff! 

M. JOUR. Good gracious, you are very obstinate, wife ! 
I tell you that he will keep his word ; I am sure of it. 

MRS. JOUR. And I, I am sure that he will not, and 
that all the caresses he loads you with are only so much 

M. JOUR. Hold your tongue. Here he comes. 

MRS. JOUR. It wanted nothing but this. He comes 
perhaps to ask you for another loan ; and the very sight 
of him spoils my dinner. 

M. JOUR. Hold your tongue, I tell you. 


DOR. My dear friend, M. Jourdain, how do you do? 

M. JOUR. Very well indeed, Sir, my humble service to 

DOR. And Mrs. Jourdain, how does she do ? 

MRS. JOUR. Mrs. Jourdain does as well as she can. 

DOR. Why, M. Jourdain, you look most handsome ! 

M. JOUR. Do you see ? 

DOR. You look exceedingly well in this dress ; and we 
have no young people at court who are better made than 

M. JOUR. He, he ! 

MRS. JOUR. (Aside). He scratches him where it itches. 

DOR. Just turn round. It gives you quite a gallant ap- 

MRS. JOUR. (Aside). Yes, as foolish behind as he is 
in front. 

DOR. Upon my word, M. Jourdain, I was rather anxious 
to see you. Of all men I esteem you most ; and no later 
than this morning I was speaking of you in the King's 

M. JOUR. You do me much honour, Sir. (To Mrs. 
Jourdain). In the King's apartments ? 

DOR. Come ! put on your hat. 

M. JOUR. Sir, I know the respect I owe you. 


DOR. Good Heavens ! put on your hat. No ceremony 
betwixt us, I pray. 

M. JOUR. Sir . . . 

DOR. Put on your hat, I tell you, M. Jourdain ; you 
are my friend. 

M. JOUR. I am your servant, Sir. 

DOR. I shall not put mine on, unless you do. 

M. JOUR. {Putting his hat on). I'll rather be uncivil 
than troublesome.** 

DOR. I am your debtor, as you know. 

MRS. JOUR. (Aside), Yes : we know it but too well. 

DOR. You have generously lent me money on several 
occasions ; and, certainly, obliged me with the best pos- 
sible grace. 

M. JOUR. You are jesting, Sir. 

DOR. But I know how to return what is lent to me, and 
to acknowledge services done to me. 

M. JOUR. I do not doubt it, Sir. 

DOR. I wish to finish this little business between us ; 
and I have come to settle our accounts. 

M. JOUR. (Softly, to Mrs. Jourdain). Well ! you see 
your impertinence now, wife. 

DOR. I am a man who likes to pay my debts as soon as 
I can. 

M. JOUR. (Softly, to Mrs. Jourdain). I told you so. 

DOR. Just let us see how much I owe you. 

M. JOUR. (Softly, to Mrs. Jourdain). There you are 
now, with your ridiculous suspicions. 

DOR. Do you remember rightly all the money you have 
lent me? 

M. JOUR. I think I do. I have made a little memo- 
randum of it. Here it is. Once to yourself two hundred 

DOR. That is true. 

M. JOUR. Another time, six score. 

DOR. Yes. 

M. JOUR. And another time, a hundred and forty. 

DOR. You are right. 

10 Compare Shakspeare's Merry Wives of Windsor (Act i., Scene i), 
when Master Slender, upon taking precedence of Mrs. Page, at her re- 
peated request, says': " I'll rather be unmannerly than troublesome.' 1 


M. JOUR. These three items make four hundred and 
sixty louis, which come to five thousand and sixty li- 
vres. a 

DOR. The account is quite correct. Five thousand and 
sixty livres. 

M. JOUR. One thousand eight hundred and thirty-two 
livres to your plume-maker. 

DOR. Correct. 

M. JOUR. Two thousand seven hundred and eighty li- 
vres to your tailor. 

DOR. Quite true. 

M. JOUR. Four thousand three hundred and seventy-nine 
livres, twelve sols eight deniers to your merchant. 

DOR. Very good. Twelve sols eight deniers; the ac- 
count is quite right. 

M. JOUR. And one thousand seven hundred and forty- 
eight livres, seven sols four deniers to your saddler. 

DOR. All that is correct. How much does that make? 

M. JOUR. The sum total, fifteen thousand eight hundred 

DOR. The sum total is exact. Fifteen thousand eight 
hundred francs. Add to this two hundred pistoles, 22 which 
you are going to give me : that will make exactly eighteen 
thousand francs, which I shall pay you at the first oppor- 

MRS. JOUR, (fn a whisper, to M. Jourdairi}. Well ! did 
I not guess it? 

M. JOUR. {In a whisper, to Mrs. Jourdairi). Peace ! 

DOR. Would it incommode you to give me what I say? 

M. JOUR. Oh, no. 

MRS JOUR. (In a whisper, to M. Jourdairi). This man is 
making a milch-cow of you. 

M. JOUR. {In a whisper, to Mrs. Jourdairi). Hold your 

DOR. If it incommodes you, I shall get it elsewhere. 

M. JOUR. No, sir. 

MRS. JOUR. (In a whisper, to M. Jourdairi). He will not 
be satisfied until he has ruined you. 

n The louis was worth eleven livres, and the livre was about a franc. 
12 For pistole see Vol. I., page 26, note 7. The louis was worth eleven 
francs ; but in conversation pistole was often used instead of louis. 


M, JOUR. (In a whisper, to Mrs. Jourdain}. Hold your 
tongue, I tell you. 

DOR. You have but to tell me if this puts you to any 

M. JOUR. Not at all, Sir. 

MRS. JOUR. (In a whisper, to M. Jourdain}. He is a re- 
gular cajoler. 

M. JOUR. (Jn a whisper, to Mrs . Jourdain). Do hold 
your tongue. 

MRS. JOUR. (In a whisper, to M. Jourdain). He will suck 
you to the last penny. 

M. JOUR. (In a whisper, to Mrs. Jourdain). Will you 
hold your tongue. 

DOR. Many people would lend it me with pleasure ; but 
as you are my best friend, I thought I was doing you a 
wrong if I asked it of any one else. 

M. JOUR. It is too much honour you do me, Sir. I 
shall go and fetch what you want. 

MRS. JOUR. ( To M. Jourdain). What ! you are going to 
give him that also ? 

M. JOUR. (In a whisper, to Mrs. Jourdain]. What am I 
to do ? Would you have me refuse a man of that rank, 
who spoke of me this morning in the King's apart- 
ments ? 

MRS. JOUR. (In a whisper, to M. Jourdain}. Go, you are 
a regular dupe. 


DOR. You seem very low-spirited. What ails you, Mrs. 
Jourdain ? 

MRS. JOUR. My head is bigger than my fist, and yet it 
is not swollen. 

DOR. Your daughter, where is she, that I have not seen 

MRS. JOUR. My daughter is very well where she is. 

DOR. How is she going on ? 

MRS. JOUR. She is going on her two legs. 2 * 

DOR. Would you not like, one of these days, to come 

23 This joke is borrowed from Terence's Eunuch. 


with her and see the ballet and the comedy that is played 
at court. 

MRS. JOUR. Yes, indeed ! we have great inclination to 
laugh, great inclination, indeed ! 

DOR. I think, Mrs. Jourdain, that you must have had 
many lovers in your young days, handsome and good- 
humoured as you must have been. 

MRS. JOUR. Zounds ! Sir, has Mrs. Jourdain grown de- 
crepit, and is she shaking her head already ? 

DOR. Ah ! upon my word, Mrs. Jourdain, I ask your 
pardon, I was not thinking that you are still young ; and 
I am often wandering. I beg of you to excuse my imper- 


M. JOUR. {To Dorante). Here are two hundred louis 

DOR. I assure you, M. Jourdain, that I am entirely 
yours, and that I long to do you service at court. 

M. JOUR. I am infinitely obliged to you. 

DOR. If Mrs. Jourdain has a wish to see the royal en- 
tertainment, 3 * I will procure her the best places in the 

MRS. JOUR. Mrs. Jourdain kisses your hands. 

DOR. (Softly to M. Jourdain]. Our fair marchioness, 
as I informed you by my note, will be here by-and-by to 
be present at the ballet and the collation ; and I have 
made her consent at last to accept the present which you 
wished to give her. 

M. JOUR. Let us go a little farther away, for reasons. 

DOR. I have not seen you for eight days, and I did not 
send you any tidings about the diamond which you 
placed in my hands to make her a present in your name ; 
but it is because I have had all the trouble in the world to 
overcome her scruples ; and it is only to-day that she has 
made up her mind to accept it. 

M. JOUR. How did she like it ? 

DOR. Marvellously ; and unless I am very much mis- 

24 See Introductory Notice to The Magnificent Lovers. 


taken, the beauty of this diamond will have an admirable 
effect for you upon her mind. 

M. JOUR. Would to Heaven ! 

MRS. JOUR. (To Nicole). When once he is with him, 
he cannot leave him. 

DOR. I have made her estimate properly the richness 
of this present, and the violence of your love. 

M. JOUR. This kindness, Sir, overwhelms me ; and I 
am in the greatest possible confusion to see a man of your 
standing lower himself for me to do what you do. 

DOR. Are you jesting ? Does one stick at these scru- 
ples among friends ? And would you not do the same for 
me, if the opportunity presented itself? 

M. JOUR. Oh ! certainly, and with all my heart ! 

MRS. JOUR. (To Nicole). How his presence weighs me 
down ! 

DOR. As for me, I never mind anything when I am 
serving a friend ; and when you made me a confidant of 
the passion which you had conceived for this charming 
marchioness with whom I was acquainted, you saw that 
directly I myself made you an offer to serve your love-affair. 

M. JOUR. It is true. These favours confound me. 

MRS. JOUR. (To Nicole). Is he not going ? 

NIC. They are very comfortable together. 

DOR. You have taken the right road to touch her heart. 
Women love above all the expenses which we make for 
them ; and your frequent serenades, your continual ban- 
quets, this superb display of fireworks which she witnessed 
on the water, the diamond which she received from you, 
and the entertainment which you are preparing for her ; 
all this says more in favour of your love than all the words 
which you could have spoken to her yourself. 

M. JOUR. No expense would be too great for me, if by 
that means I could find the way to her heart. A woman 
of quality has powerful charms for me ; and it is an honour 
which I would purchase at any price. 

MRS. JOUR. (Softly, to Nicole). What can they have so 
much to say to each other ? Just go softly and listen. 

DOR. By-and-by you shall enjoy at your ease the pleas- 
ure of seeing her ; and your eyes shall have ample time to 
satisfy themselves. 


M. JOUR. To be at full liberty, I have arranged so that 
my wife shall go and dine with my sister, where she will 
pass the whole afternoon. 

DOR. You have done wisely, and your wife might have 
been somewhat in the way. I have given the necessary 
orders for you to the cook, and for all the things that are 
wanted for the ballet, I have invented it myself, and pro- 
vided the execution comes up to the conception, I am 
certain that it will be found . . . 

M. JOUR. (Perceiving that Nicole is listening, and giving 
her a box on the ear). Good gracious, you are very imper- 
tinent! (To Dorante). Let us go out if you please. 


NIC. Troth, Mrs. the curiosity has cost me something; 
but I believe there is a snake in the grass ; and they were 
talking of some affair at which they do not wish you to be 

MRS. JOUR. This is not the first time, Nicole, that I 
have conceived some suspicion about my husband. Unless 
I am most cruelly mistaken, there is some love affair going 
on ; and I am doing my best to discover what it may be. 
But let us think of my daughter. You know the affection 
Cl6onte has for her : he is a man whom I like; and I will 
aid his suit, and give him Lucile, if I can. 

NIC. Really, Mrs., I am infinitely delighted to find you 
in this mind ; for if the master suits you, the servant suits 
me no less; and I could wish that our wedding could be 
close upon theirs. 

MRS. JOUR. Go and speak to him in my name, and tell 
him to come to see me by-and-by, so that we may make 
together the request for my daughter's hand to my husband. 

NIC. I am hastening thither joyfully, Mrs., and I could 
not receive a more agreeable commission. (Alone). I fancy, 
I shall be giving much pleasure to some people. 


NIC. (To Cleonte*). Ah ! You are just in time ! I am 
a messenger of joy, and I come . . . 

OLE. Begone, you perfidious woman, and do not come 
to amuse me with treacherous speeches. 


NIC. Is it thus that you receive . . . 

CLE. Begone, I tell you, and now go and tell your 
faithless mistress, that she shall never deceive the too 
simple ClSonte. 

NIC. What craze is this? My poor Covielle, just tell 
me what this means? 

Cov. You poor Covielle, you little wretch! Go quickly 
out of my sight, hussy, and leave me in peace. 

NIC. What ! you come also to . 

Cov. Get out of my sight, I say; and never in your life 
speak more to me. 

NIC. (Aside). Good gracious ! what gad-fly has stung 
them both? I had better go, and tell my mistress this 
pretty story. ** 


CLE. What ! To treat a lover thus ; and that a lover 
the most constant and the most passionate of all lovers ! 

Cov. It is a most horrible thing that they have done to 
us both. 

CLE. I display all the ardour and tenderness imaginable 
to a lady; I love no one on earth but her, and think of 
nothing but her ; she is all my care, all my desire, all my 
joy; I speak but of her, think but of her, dream but of 
her; I live but for her, my heart beats but for her, and 
this is the worthy reward of so much affection ! I am two 
days, which to me are two horrible ages, without seeing 
her : I meet her by accident; at the sight of her my heart 
feels quite elated, joy is displayed on my countenance, 
rapturously I fly towards her, and the faithless one averts 
her looks, and passes abruptly on, as if she had never seen 
me in her life ! 

Cov. I have the same story to tell. 

CLE. Has aught like the perfidy of this ungrateful 
Lucile ever been seen? 

Cov. Or anything, Sir, like that of that jade Nicole ? 

CLE. After the many ardent sacrifices, sighs and vows 
which I have paid to her charms ! 

25 This is the third time Moliere makes use of a tiff between lovers and 
of reconciliation afterwards. First in The Love- Tiff, secondly in Tartufe, 
and thirdly above. 


Cov. After such assiduous homage, attentions and ser- 
vices which I have rendered to her in the kitchen ! 

CLE. The many tears I have shed at her feet ! 

Cov. The many buckets of water I have drawn from 
the well for her ! 

CLE. The warmth I have shown in cherishing her more 
than my own self! 

Cov. The heat I have suffered in turning the spit in 
her place ! 

CLE. She flees from me with disdain ! 

Cov. She turns her back upon me shamelessly ! 

CLE. It is a perfidy deserving the greatest punishment. 

Cov. It is a treachery that merits a thousand slaps in 
the face. 

CLE. Do not you, I pray, attempt ever to speak of her 
to me. 

Cov. I, Sir ? Heaven forbid ! 

CLE. Do not come to excuse to me the conduct of this 
faithless girl. 

Cov. You need not fear. 

CLE. No, look you here, all your speeches in her de- 
fence will avail nothing. 

Cov. Who dreams of such a thing ? 

CLE. I shall nurse my spite against her, and break off 
all connection. 

Cov. You have my consent. 

CLE. This count who visits at her house excites her 
fancy perhaps ; and her mind I see it well enough 
allow itself to be dazzled by rank. But I am bound, for 
my honour's sake, to prevent the scandal of her incon- 
stancy. I will go, as far as she goes, towards the change 
to which I see her hastening, and not leave to her all the 
glory of jilting me. 

Cov. That is well said ; and as far as I am concerned, 
I share all your sentiments. 

CLE. Assist me in my resentment and support my re- 
solution against every remainder of affection which might 
plead for her. Say, I entreat you, all the harm of her that 
you can. Give me a portrait of her which shall render 
her contemptible in my sight, and, to disgust me with her, 
point me out all the faults which you can see in her. 


Cov. She, Sir? a pretty mawkin, a well-shaped, preten- 
tious young woman, 26 to be so much enamoured of! I see 
nothing in her but what is very ordinary ; and you will 
meet a hundred women more worthy of you. First of all, 
her eyes are small. 

CLE. That is true, her eyes are small ; but they are full 
of fire, the most brilliant, the most piercing in the world, 
and tenderest which one can see. 

Cov. She has a large mouth. 

CLE. Yes ; but it has charms not to be found in other 
mouths; and this very mouth, in looking at it, inspires 
desire, and is the most attractive and amorous in the world. 

Cov. As for her figure, she is not tall. 

CLE. No; but is full of ease, and well shaped. 

Cov. She affects a carelessness in her speech and move- 

CLE. It is true, but she is full of grace ; and her man- 
ners are engaging, and have an indefinable charm which 
twines round one's heart. 

Cov. As to her wit . . . 

CLE. Ah ! she has that, Covielle, of the finest and of 
the most delicate. 

Cov. Her conversation . . . 

CLE. Her conversation is charming. 

Cov. It is always grave. 

CLE. Would you have unrestrained liveliness, and ever 
profuse gaiety! and is there anything more annoying 
than these women who giggle at every sally ? 

Cov. But, after all, she is as whimsical as anyone could 
well be. 

CLE. Yes, she is whimsical, I agree with you there ; but 
everything becomes the fair sex ; one allows everything to 
the fair sex." 

Cov. Since that is the case, I see plainly that you are 
inclined to love her always. 

M The original has pimpesouee, probably from the old verb pimper, to 
adorn oneself pimpant still exists in modern French and the old adjec- 
tive soteef, Latin svavis, sweet, agreeable. 

27 It is said that Moliere, in delineating Lucile, described his spouse, 
who played the character. That may be true; but the real passion, 
which is displayed in Cleonte's answers to Covielle, is, in every way, ad- 


CLE. I ? I would sooner die ; and I mean to hate her 
as much as I have loved her. 

Cov. But how, i f you find her so perfect ? 

CLE. That is where my revenge shall prove itself all the 
more ; where I shall the better show her the strength of 
my heart to hate her, to leave her, beautiful, full of attrac- 
tions, amiable as I may think her. Here she comes. 


NIC. {To Lucile). As for me, I was perfectly scanda- 
lized at it. 

Luc. It can be nothing else, Nicole, than what I tell 
you. But here he is, 

CLE. ( To Covielle). I will not even speak to her. 

Cov. I will do as you do. 

Luc. What is it Cl6onte ? what is the matter with you? 

NIC. What is the matter with you, Covielle ? 

Luc. What grief possesses you ? 

Nic. What ill-humour has got hold of you ? 

Luc. Are you dumb, Cleonte ? 

NIC. Have you lost your speech, Covielle ? 

CLE. This is villainous ! 

Cov. It is Judas-like ! 

Luc. I see clearly that the meeting just now has dis- 
turbed your mind. 

CLE. {To Covielle). Ah! ah! people are finding out 
what they have been doing. 

NIC. Our reception of this morning has made you 
alarmed. 28 

Cov. {To Cleonte'}. They have found out the sore. 29 

Luc. Is it not true, Cleonte, that this is the reason of 
your huff? 

CLE. Yes, false girl, it is that, since I am to speak ; and 
I must tell you that you shall not glory, as you think you 

18 Prendre la chevre, to take the goat, in the original ; hence probably 
the meaning of to rear, to get frightened, to get alarmed. 

29 The original has on a devin'e I' enclosure: they have guessed the 
sore, because in shoeing a horse, it was sometimes wounded ; and this 
wound, not always easy to find out, was called I'enclouure. The expres- 
sion has also been used in the fifth Scene of the second Act of The 



shall, in your faithlessness ; that I shall be the first to 
break with you, and that you shall not have the advan- 
tage of driving me away. It will pain me, no doubt, to 
conquer the love which I have for you ; it will cause me 
some grief; I shall suffer for some time ; but I will ac- 
complish it, and I will sooner stab myself to the heart 
than have the weakness to come back to you. 

Cov. {To Nicole). As says the master, so .says the man. 29 

Luc. There is much ado about nothing ! I wish to tell 
you the reason, Cleonte, which made me avoid you this 

CLE. ( Trying to go away from Lucile). I wish to listen 
to nothing. 

NIC. {To Covielle). I wish to tell you the reason that 
made us pass you so quickly. 

Cov. {Also endeavoring to go, to avoid Nicole). I wish 
to hear nothing. 

Luc. {Following Cleonte). You must know, then, that 
this morning . . . 

CLE. {Moving away, without looking at Lucile). No I 
tell you. 

NIC. {Following Covielli). Know then . . . 

Cov. {Moving away, without looking at Nicole). No, you 
wretch ! 

Luc. Listen. 

CLE. Not a whit. 

NIC. Let me speak. 

CL. I am deaf. 

Luc. Cleonte ! 

CLE. No. 

NIC. Covielle! 

Cov. Not a bit. 

Luc. Stay. 

CLE. Stuff! 

NIC. Hear me. 

Cov. Nonsense ! 

Luc. One moment, 

CLE. Not one. 

NIC. A little patience. 

39 In the original, queussi queumi, a provincial expression. 


Cov. Fiddle-sticks! 

Luc. Two words. 

CLE. No ! it is finished. 

NIC. One word. 

Cov. No more dealings. 

Luc. (Stopping). Very well then! Since you will not 
hear me, keep to your own opinion, and do as you please. 

NIC. {Also stopping). Since you act thus, take it as you 

CLE. {Turning Cowards Lucile). Let us know, then, 
the reason of such a pretty welcome. 

Luc. ( Going in her turn, to avoid Cleonte.~) It no longer 
pleases me to tell it. 

Cov. (Turning towards Nicole). Well, just let us learn 
this story. 

NIC. (Also going, to avoid Covielle). I will no longer 
tell it to you. 

CLE. (Following Lucile'). Tell me ... 

Luc. (Moving away, without looking at Cleonte). No, I 
shall say nothing. 

CLE. Following Nicole). Relate to me . . . 

NIC. (Moving away, without looking at Covielle). No, I 
shall relate nothing to you. 

CLE. Pray. 

Luc. No, I tell you. 

Cov. For mercy's sake. 

NIC. Not a whit. 

CLE. I pray you. 

Luc. Leave me. 

Cov. I beseech you. 

NIC. Begone from there 

CLE. Lucile ! 

Luc. No. 

Cov. Nicole ! 

NIC. Not a bit. 

CLE. In Heaven's name. 

Luc. I will not. 

Cov. Speak to me. 

NIC. Not at all. 

CLE. Clear up my doubts. 

Luc. No : I will do nothing of the kind. 


Cov. Ease my mind. 

NIC. No : I do not choose. 

CLE. Well ! since you care so little to cure my grief, 
and to justify yourself for the unworthy treatment which 
my affection has received from you, this is the last time 
that you shall see me, ungrateful girl : and I shall go far 
away from you, to die of grief and love. 

Cov. (To Nicole). And I, I will follow his steps. 

Luc. (To Cleonte, who is going). Cleonte! 

NIC. (To Covielle, who is about to follow his master). 
Covielle ! 

CLE. (Stopping). Eh! 

Cov. (Also stopping). Please? 

Luc. Whither are you going? 

CLE. Where I have told you. 

Cov. We are going to die. 

Luc. You are going to die, Cleonte? 

CLE. Yes, cruel one, since you will it so. 

Luc. I ! I wish you to die ? 

CLE. Yes, you wish it. 

Luc. Who says so. 

CLE. (Drawing near to Ludle). Is it not wishing it, 
when you will not clear up my suspicions ? 

Luc. Is it my fault ? and if you had listened to me, 
would I not have told you that the adventure of which 
you complain was caused this morning by the presence of 
an old aunt, who insists that merely the approach of a man 
dishonours a girl, who punctually lectures us on that 
chapter, and paints us all men as devils whom we should 
flee from. 

NIC. (To Covielle}. That is the secret of the affair. 

CLE. Are you not deceiving me, Lucile ? 

Cov. (To Nicole). Are you not imposing upon me? 

Luc (To Cleonte). Nothing is more true. 

NIC. (To Covielle). That is the affair as it is. 

Cov. (To Cleonte). Shall we give in to this? 

CLE. Ah ! Lucile, how quickly you appease things in 
my heart by a single word from your mouth, and how 
easily we are persuaded by those whom we love ! 

Cov. How easily one is wheedled by those confounded 
animals ! 



MRS. JOUR. I am glad to see you, Cl6onte; and you 
are just in good time. My husband is coming ; quickly 
choose the moment to ask him for Lucile's hand 

CLE. Ah ! Madam, how sweet these words are, and how 
they natter my wishes ! Could I receive a more charming 
command, a more precious favour? 


CLE. Sir, I did not wish to depute any one else to 
prefer a request which I have long meditated. It concerns 
me sufficiently to undertake it in person ; and without 
farther ado, I will tell you that the honour of being your 
son-in-law is a glorious favour which I beg of you to 
grant me. 

M. JOUR. Before giving you your answer, Sir, I pray 
you to tell me whether you are a nobleman 

CLE. Sir, most people, on this question, do not hesitate 
much ; the word is easily spoken. There is no scruple in 
assuming that name, and present custom seems to author- 
rize the theft. As for me, I confess to you, my feelings on 
this point are rather more delicate. I think that all im- 
posture is unworthy of an honest man, and that it is cow- 
ardice to disguise what Heaven has made us, to deck our- 
selves in the eyes of the world with a stolen title, and to 
wish to pass for what we are not. I am born of parents 
who, no doubt, have filled honourable offices ; I have ac- 
quitted myself with honour in the army, where I served for 
six years ; and I am sufficiently well to do to hold a middling 
rank in society ; but with all this, I will not assume what 
others, in my position, might think they had the right to 
pretend to ; and I will tell you frankly that I am not a 

M. JOUR. Your hand, Sir ; my daughter is not for you. 

CLE. How. 

M. JOUR. You are not a nobleman : you shall not have 
my daughter. 

MRS. JOUR. What is it you mean by your nobleman ? 
Is it that we ourselves are descended from Saint Louis ? 


M. JOUR. Hold your tongue, wife; I see what you are 
driving at. 

MRS. JOUR. Are we two descended from aught else than 
from plain citizens ? 

M. JOUR. If that is not a slander? 

MRS. JOUR. And was your father not a tradesman as well 
as mine ? 

M. JOUR. Plague take the woman, she always harps 
upon that. If your father was a tradesman, so much the 
worse for him ; but as for mine, they are impertinent 
fellows who say so. All that I have to say to you, is that 
I will have a nobleman for a son-in-law. 

MRS. JOUR. Your daughter wants a husband who is 
suited to her ; and it is much better for her that she 
should have a respectable man, rich and handsome, than 
a beggarly and deformed nobleman. 

NIC. That is true; we have the son of our village 
squire, who is the greatest lout and the most stupid nin- 
compoop that I have ever seen. 

M. JOUR. (To Nicole). Hold your tongue, Miss Imper- 
tinence ; you always thrust yourself into the conversation. 
I have sufficient wealth to give my daughter ; I wish only 
for honours, and I will make her a marchioness. 

MRS. JOUR. Marchioness ? 

M. JOUR. Yes, marchioness. 

MRS. JOUR. Alas ! Heaven preserve me from it ! 

M. JOUR. It is a thing I am determined on. 

MRS. JOUR. It is a thing to which I shall never consent. 
Matches with people above one's own position are always 
subject to the most grievous inconvenience. I do not wish 
a son-in-law of mine to be able to reproach my daughter 
with her parents, or that she should have children who 
would be ashamed to call me their grandmother. If she 
were to come and visit me with the equipage of a grand 
lady, and that, through inadvertency, she should miss 
curtseying to one of the neighbourhood, people would not 
fail to say a hundred silly things immediately. Do you 
see this lady marchioness, they would say, who is giving 
herself such airs ? She is the daughter of M. Jourdain, 
who was only too glad, when she was a child, to play at 
ladyship with us. She has not always been so high up in 


the world, and her two grandfathers sold cloth near the 
St. Innocent gate. 31 They amassed great wealth for their 
children, for which they^are probably paying very dearly 
in the other world; for people can scarcely become so 
rich by remaining honest folks. I will not have all this 
tittle-tattle, and in one word, I wish for a man who shall 
be grateful to me for my daughter, and to whom I shall be 
able to say : Sit down there, son-in-law, and dine with 

M. JOUR. These are the sentiments of a narrow mind, 
to wish to remain for ever in a mean condition. Do not 
answer me any more : my daughter shall be a marchioness 
in spite of all the world ; and, if you put me in a passion, 
I shall make her a duchess. 33 


MRS. JOUR. Cleonte, do not lose courage as yet. (To 
Lucile). Come with me, daughter, and tell your father 
plainly that if you cannot have him, you will not marry 
any one. 


Cov. You have made a nice thing of it with your high- 
flown sentiments ! 

CLE. What would you have me to do? I have scruples 
upon this subject which no example could conquer. 

Cov. Are you mad to look at it seriously with a man 
like that ? Do not you see that he is crazy ? and would 
it cost you aught to accommodate yourself to his fancies ? 

CLE. You are right ; but I did not think that one had to 
give proof of noble birth to become the son-in-law of 
M. Jourdain. 

Cov. (Laughing). Ah! ah! ah! 

CLE. What are you laughing at ? 

Cov. At a thought that comes into my head of playing 

*i There was no gate in Paris called thus. It was probably the gate of 
the well-known cemetery of the Saints-Innocents. 

31 See in the Introductory Notice the conversation between Sancho 
Panza and Teresa. 


a trick upon our man, and of obtaining for you what 
you wish. 

CLE. How? 

Cov. The idea is altogether amusing. 

CLE. What is it, then? 

Cov. There was a little 'masquerade performed some 
time ago, which would fit in marvellously here, and which 
I propose to employ in the trick 83 that I wish to play 
upon our ridiculous individual. All this smacks a little of 
comedy; but, with him, we may risk anything; we have 
no need to take much trouble, and he is just the man 
to play his part in it to perfection, and to take for 
granted all the tales to which we shall treat him. I have 
the actors and the dresses quite ready ; just let me 
manage it. 

CLE. But tell me ... 

Cov. I will let you into the whole of it. Let us with- 
draw ; here he comes. 


What the deuce is it all ? They do nothing but reproach 
me with my great lords, and I myself can see nothing more 
beautiful than to keep company with great lords ; there is 
only honour and civility with them ; and I would have 
given two fingers of my hand, to have been born a count 
or a marquis. 


LAC. Sir, here is the count, and a lady whom he is 
handing in. 

M. JOUR. Eh ! good Heavens ! I have some orders to 
give. Tell them that I am coming in a minute. 

LAC. Master says he will be here in a minute. 
DOR. It is well. 

DORI. I am not sure Dorante, but I am taking another 

M The original has bourle, a trick, a joke, from the Italian burla; the 
adjective burlesque is still used. 


strange step in allowing you to bring me to a house where 
I know nobody. 

DOR. What place then, Madam, would you have my love 
choose to entertain you, since, to avoid scandal, you do 
not wish to use either your house or mine. 

DORI. But you do not mention that I am insensibly in- 
duced every day to receive too many protestations of your 
passion. I may defend myself as much as I like from 
them ; you are tiring my resistance, and you have a civil 
kind of obstinacy, which is gently leading me on to what- 
ever you please. It began by frequent visits, then came 
declarations, which led the way for serenades and enter- 
tainments, to be followed by presents. I have opposed all 
this; but you will not be repelled, and inch by inch you 
are gaining upon my resolutions. As for me, I can no 
longer answer for anything, and I believe that in the end 
you will drive me to matrimony, from which I have held 
myself so much aloof. 

DOR. Upon my word, Madam, you ought to have been 
there already : you are a widow, and your own mistress ; 
I am my own master, and love you better than my life: 
what is there to prevent you from completing my happi- 
ness from this day forward ? 

DORI. Great Heavens ! Dorante, it requires many qual- 
ities on both sides to live happily together, and the two 
most sensible people in the world often have a difficulty 
of forming a union with which they shall be satisfied. 

DOR. You are jesting, Madam, to imagine so many 
difficulties ; and the experiment which you have tried 
concludes nothing for others. 

DORI. In short, I am always coming back to this ; the 
expenses which I find you launch into for me, make me 
uneasy for two reasons : one, that they bind me more than 
I could wish ; and the other, that I am sure, no offence to 
you, that you cannot make them without incommoding 
yourself; and I do not wish for that. 

DOR. Ah ! Madam, they are mere trifles, and it is not 
by that . . . 

DORI. I know what I say, and, amongst others, the 
diamond which you have forced upon me is of a value 


DOR. Eh ! Madam, I pray, do not put so much value 
upon a thing which my love thinks unworthy of you, and 
allow me ... Here is the master of the house. 


M. JOUR. {After having made two bows, finding himself 
too close to Dorimene). A little farther away, Madam. 

DORI. How ? 

M. JOUR. One step, if you please. 

DORI. What then ? 

M. JOUR. Fall back a little for the third. 

DOR. Madam, M. Jourdain knows how to be genteel. 

M. JOUR. Madam, this is a great honour to me, to be 
sufficiently fortunate, to be so happy, to have the felicity, 
that you have had the goodness of granting me the favor, 
of doing me the honour of honouring me with the favour 
of your presence ; and if I had also the merit of meriting 
a merit like yours, and that Heaven . . . envious of my 
happiness . . . had accorded me . . . the advantage of 
finding myself worthy . . . of . . . 

DOR. M. Jourdain, that will do. This lady does not 
like elaborate compliments, and she knows that you are a 
man of wit (in a whisper, to Dorimene). He is an inoffen- 
sive citizen, sufficiently ridiculous, as you see, in all his 

DORI. {In a whisper, to Dorante). It is not very diffi- 
cult to perceive it. 

DOR. Madam, this is my best friend. 

M. JOUR. You are doing me too much honour. 

DOR. An out and out gallant man. 

DORI. I have a great esteem for him. 

M. JOUR. I have done nothing yet, Madam, to deserve 
this favour. 

DOR. (In a whisper, to M. Jourdain). Whatever you do, 
take particular care not to mention the diamond, which 
you have given her. 

M. JOUR. {In a whisper, to Dorante}. May I not even 
ask her if she likes it ? 

DOR. {In a whisper, to M. Jourdain). Not for worlds, 
and take great care you do not ! It would be ill-man- 
nered of you ; and to act gallantly, you must act as if it 


were not you who had made her that present. (Aloud}. 
M. Jourdain, Madam, says he is enchanted to see you at 
his house. 

DORI. He honours me much. 

M. JOUR. (In a whisper, to Dorante). How obliged I am 
to you, Sir, for speaking thus to her for me. 

DOR. (In a whisper, to M. Jourdain]. I have had a ter- 
rible trouble to make her come here. 

M. JOUR. (In a whisper, to Dorante). I do not know 
what thanks to give you. 

DOR. He says, Madam, that he thinks you the most 
charming person on earth. 

DORI. It is a great favour he does me. 

M. JOUR. Madam, it is you who do the favours, and 

DOR. Let us see about the dinner. 


LAC. (To M. Jourdain). .Every thing is ready, Sir. 
DOR. Then let us sit down, and have the musicians in. 

SCENE XXL Entry of the Ballet. 

Six cooks, who have prepared the dinner, dance together, 
and compose the third interlude; after which they bring in 
a table covered with several dishes. 



DORI. How now ! Dorante ! this is altogether a most 
magnificent repast. 

M. JOUR. You are jesting, madam, and I wish it were 
more worthy of your acceptance. (Dorimene, M. Jour- 
dain, Dorante, and the three musicians sit down at the 

DOR. M. Jourdain is' right, Madam, in what he says; 
and he obliges me by doing so well the honours of his 


house to you. I agree with him that the repast is not 
worthy of you As it is I who ordered it, and as I have 
not, on that head, the knowledge of some of our friends, 
you have not here a very studied affair, and you will find 
many incongruities of good cheer, and many barbarisms 
of good taste. If Damis had had a hand in this, every- 
thing would have been done properly ; there would have 
been elegance and erudition everywhere, and he would not 
have failed to exaggerate to you himself every item of the 
repast which he was giving you, and to force you to agree 
as to his great capacity in the way of gastronomy ; to hold 
forth to you about a fancy bread with golden edges, 84 crusty 
all round, daintily crackling under your teeth; about a 
wine, strong-bodied and deep-coloured, with a tartness 
which does not predominate ; about a loin of mutton gar- 
nished with parsley; about a loin of Norman veal, 35 as long 
as this, white, delicate, and which tastes, under the teeth, 
like real almond paste ; about partridges of a surprising 
flavour; and, for his master-piece, 36 about a jelly-broth, 
followed by a young fat turkey t with young pigeons at the 
four corners, and crowned with bleached onions and chi- 
cory. 31 But as for me, I acknowledge my ignorance ; and, 
as M. Jourdain has very well said, I should wish that the 
feast was more worthy of being offered to you. 

DORI. I only respond to this compliment by eating as 
I do. 

M. JOUR. Ah ! what beautiful hands ! 

DORI. The hands are but middling, M. Jourdain ; but 
you are alluding to the diamond which is very beautiful. 

M. JOUR. I, madam ? Heaven preserve me from allud- 
ing to it ; it would not be gallant on my part ; and the 
diamond is of very little consequence. 

DORI. You are very fastidious. 

M. JOUR. You are too good . . . 

84 The original has pain de rive a biseau dore. 

85 Veau de riviere because the calves were reared in Normandy, on the 
banks of the Seine. 

88 The original has opera t which was often employed in Moliere's time 
for " master-piece." 

87 Un dindon . . , cantonne de pigeonneaux is the expression used. 
Cantonne, cantoned, is a heraldic term. 


DOR. (After having given a sign to M. Jourdain). 
Come, pour some wine to M. Jourdain, and to these 
gentlemen, who will do us the favour to sing us a drink- 
ing song. 

DORI. It gives a marvellous relish to good cheer to mix 
music with it ; and I find myself admirably entertained 

M. JOUR. Madam, it is not . . . 

DOR. M. Jourdain, let us listen to these gentlemen ; 
what they will tell us will be worth much more than all 
that we could say. 


First and Second Musicians together, with glasses in their 

A small drop, Phillis, to commence the round. 

Ah ! how agreeable and charming a glass looks in your 

hands ! 

You and the wine, you lend each other arms, 
And I feel my love for both increase, 
Between it, you and J, my fair one, let us swear, let us 

An eternal friendship. 

How by wetting your lips, it receives fresh charms ! 

And how we see your lips embellished by it ! 

Ah ! both inspire me with envy, 

And with you and it, I intoxicate myself with long 

Between it, you and I, my fair one, let us swear, let us 

An eternal friendship. 


Second and Third Musicians together. 

Let us drink, dear friends, let us drink ; 
Fleeting time invites us to it. 
Let us profit by life 
As much as we can. 


When we have passed the black gulf, 
Good bye to wine and love. 
Let us make haste to drink, 
For we cannot always drink. 

Let us leave arguing to fools ! 
On the true happiness of life ; 
Our philosophy 
Places it in the bottle. 

Wealth, knowledge and glory, 
Do not do away with carking care ; 
And it is only in drinking, 
That we can be happy. 

All three together. 

Come on, come on: wine everywhere: pour out men, 

pour out ; 
Pour out, pour out always, until we say enough. 

DORI. I think no one could sing better; and it is alto- 
gether charming. 

M. JOUR. I see her, Madam, something more charming 

DORI. Indeed ! M. Jourdain is more gallant than 
I thought. 

DOR. How so, Madam ! for whom do you take M. 

M. JOUR. I wish she would take me for what I could 

DORI. What ? Again ? 

DOR. ( To Dorimene}. You do not know him. 

M. JOUR. She shall know me when it pleases her. 

DORI. Oh ! I shall run away. 

DOR. He has always got his repartee at hand. But you 
do not see, Madam, that M. Jourdain eats every morsel 
which you touch. 

DORI. M. Jourdain is a man who charms me. 

M. JOUR. If I could charm your heart, I would be ... 



MRS. JOUR. Ah ! ah ! I find good company here, and 
I see plainly that I was not expected. It is for this pretty 
affair then, husband, that you were so anxious to send me 
out to dine with my sister ! I find a play down below, and 
here I find a dinner fit for a wedding. That is how you 
spend your substance; and it is thus that you feast the 
ladies in my absence, and give them music and comedy, 
while you send me out of the way. 

DOR. What do you mean, Mrs. Jourdain? and what 
fancies are yours, to take it into your head that your hus- 
band spends his substance, and that it is he who gives this 
entertainment to this lady? Know, pray, that it is I; that 
he is only lending me his house, and that you ought to be 
somewhat more careful in what you say. 

M. JOUR. Yes, impertinent woman, it is the count who 
provides all this for this lady, who is a lady of quality. 
He does me the honour of borrowing my house, and of 
wishing me to be with him. 

MRS. JOUR. That is all stuff: I know what I know. 

DOR. Take a better pair of spectacles, Mrs. Jourdain. 

MRS. JOUR. I have no need of spectacles, Sir, and I see 
clearly enough. I have had a scent of this for some time, 
and I am not a fool. It is very base in you, who are a 
great lord, to lend a hand, as you do, to the follies of my 
husband. And you, Madam, for a lady of quality, it is 
neither handsome nor honest in you, to sow dissension 
in a family, and to allow my husband to be in love with 

DORI. What does all this mean? Indeed, Dorante, 
it is too bad in you to expose me to the silly visions of 
this foolish woman. 

DOR. {Following Dorimene, who goes out}. Madam 
. . . Madam ! where are you running ? 

M. JOUR. Madam. . . . Count, make my excuses to 
her, and endeavour to bring her back. 

M. JOUR. Ah ! impertinent woman that you are, these 


are your nice doings ! You come to affront me before 
everyone ; and you drive people of quality from my house ! 

MRS. JOUR. I do not care about their quality. 

M. JOUR. I do not know what hinders me, you cursed 
woman, from splitting your head with the fragments of 
the repast which you have come to disturb. 

( The Lacqueys take the table away. 

MRS. JOUR. {Going). I do not care a bit for all this. 
I am defending my rights, and I shall have all the women 
on my side. 

M. JOUR. You do well to get out of the way of my fury. 


She came back at a most unlucky time. I was in the 
humour for saying pretty things ; and never did I find 
myself so witty. But what is this ? 


Cov. Sir, I do not know whether I have the honour of 
being known to you. 

M. JOUR. No, Sir. 

Cov. {Holding his hand about a foot from the ground). 
I have seen you when you were not taller than this. 

M. JOUR. Me ? 

Cov. Yes. You were the prettiest child in the world, 
and all the ladies took you in their arms to kiss you. 

M. JOUR. To kiss me ? \ 

Cov. Yes. I was a great friend of the late gentleman, 
your father. 

M. JOUR. Of the late gentleman, my father? 

Cov. Yes. He was a very respectable gentleman. 

M. JOUR. How say you ? 

Cov. I say that he was a very respectable gentleman. 

M. JOUR. My father ? 

Cov. Yes. 

M. JOUR. You have known him well ? 

Cov. Indeed I have. 

M. JOUR. And you have known him to be a gentleman? 

Cov. Undoubtedly. 

M. JOUR. Then I do not know what the world means ! 


Cov. How? 

M. JOUR. There are silly people who would tell me that 
he was a tradesman. 

Cov. He, a tradesman ? It is downright slander, he 
never was one. All that he did, is that he was extremely 
obliging, and very polite; and as he was a very great 
judge of stuffs, he went and chose them everywhere had 
them carried to his house, and gave them to his friends 
for money. 

M. JOUR. I am delighted to know you, so that you may 
bear this testimony, that my father was a gentleman. 

Cov. I will maintain it before the whole world. 

M. JOUR. You will oblige me. What business brings 
you here ? 

Cov. Since I knew your late father, a respectable gen- 
tleman as I have told you, I have travelled all over the 

M. JOUR. All over the world? 

Cov. Yes. 

M. JOUR. I fancy it must be very far to that country. 

Cov. Indeed it is. I have come back from all my long 
travels only within the last four days; and from the inter- 
est which I take in everything that relates to you, I have 
come to announce to you the best news in the world. 

M. JOUR. Which ? 

Cov. You know that the son of the Grand Turk is here ? 

M. JOUR. I? No. 

Cov. How is that ? He has the most magnificent reti- 
nue ; everyone goes to see him, and he has been received 
in this country as an important nobleman. 

M. JOUR. Indeed, I did not know that. 

Cov. What is of advantage to you, is that he is in love 
with your daughter. 

M. JOUR. The son of the Grand Turk ? 

Cov. Yes ; and he wishes to be your son-in-law. 

M. JOUR. My son-in-law, the son of the Grand Turk ! 

Cov. The son of the Grand Turk, your son-in-law. As 
I went to see him, understanding his language perfectly, 
we were conversing together ; and after some talk, he said 
to me, Acciam croc soler onch alia moustaph gidelum aman- 
ahem varahini oussere carbulath; which means, have you 



not seen a handsome young lady, who is the daughter of 
M. Jourdain, a Parisian gentleman ? 

M. JOUR. The son of the Grand Turk said that of me ? 

Cov. Yes. As I answered him that I knew you partic- 
ularly, and that I had seen your daughter ; Ah ! said he 
to me, marababa sahem / which means : Ah ! how enam- 
oured I am of her ! 

M. JOUR. Marababa sahem means : Ah ! how enamoured 
I am of her ? 

Cov. Yes. 

M. JOUR. Upon my word, you do well to tell me ; for, 
as for me, I should never have thought that marababa 
sahem meant : Ah ! how enamoured I am of her ! It is 
an admirable language, this Turkish ! 

Cov. More admirable than you would think. Do you 
know at all what cacaracamouchen means ? 

M. JOUR. Cacaracamouchen ? No. 

Cov. That means, My dear soul. 

M. JOUR. Cacaracamouchen means : My dear soul ? 

Cov. Yes. 

M. JOUR- That is something marvellous ! Cacaraca- 
mffuchen, My dear soul. Who would ever think so ? That 
is something that puzzles me. 

Cov. In short, to finish my mission, he comes to ask 
the hand of your daughter ; and in order to have a father- 
in-law that shall be worthy of him, he wishes to make you 
mamamouchi?*' which is an office of dignity in his country. 

M. JOUR. Mamamouchi ? 

Cov. Yes, Mamamouchi; that means in our language, 
Paladine. In short, [Paladines are those ancient . . . 
Paladines. There is nothing more noble in the world ; 
and you will be on a level with the greatest lords of the 

M. JOUR. The son of the Grand Turk honours me much, 
and I pray you to bring him here that I may tender him 
my thanks. 

Cov. Why ! he is just coming here. 

88 Nearly all the Turkish of Covielle, which is no Turkish at all, is taken 
from Rotrou's comedy, The Sister. There are, however, a few corrupt 
Turkish words among them. The word mamamouchi, created by Moliere, 
is still used in French. 


M. JOUR. He is coming here ? 

Cov. Yes ; and he brings everything with him for the 
ceremony of investing you with your dignity. 

M. JOUR. That is very prompt. 

Cov. His passion will brook no delay. 

M. JOUR. The only thing that perplexes me in this 
affair is, that my daughter is an obstinate girl who has her 
head full of a certain Cleonte, and she swears that she 
shall marry no one but him. 

Cov. She will change her mind when she shall see the 
son of the Grand Turk; and the most marvellous adven- 
ture in this case is, that the son of the Grand Turk 
resembles this C16onte, with perhaps a slight difference. 
I have just seen him ; he has been pointed out tome; and 
the love which she has for the one might easily pass to the 
other, and ... I hear him coming ; here he is. 

SCENE VI. CLEONTE, disguised as a Turk; THREE PAGES, 
carrying Cleonte' s jacket; M. JOURDAIN, COVIELLE. 

CLE. Ambousahim oqui boraf, Jordina, salamalequi?* 

Cov. {To M. Jourdairi). That means: M. Jourdain, 
may your heart be all the year like a rose tree in flower. 
These are the prepossessing ways of speaking in these 

M. JOUR. I am his Turkish Highness' most humble 

Cov. Carigar caboto oustin moraf, 

CLE. Oustin yoc catamalequi basum base alia moran. 

Cov. He says : May Heaven give you the strength of a 
lion, and the cunning of a serpent. 

M. JOUR. His Turkish Highness honours me too much, 
and I wish him all sorts of prosperity. 

Cov. Ossa binamen sadoc babally oracaf ouram. 

CLE. Bel-men." 

Cov. He says you are to go with him quickly to prepare 
yourself for the ceremony, so that he may see your daughter 
afterwards, and conclude the marriage. 

89 The last word is the Arabic salam aleiqui, may salvation be on your 
head ; in familiar French, there exists the word salamalec, a very deep 

* Bel-men is perhaps the Turkish Oilmen, I do not know. 


M. JOUR. So many things in two words? 
Cov. Yes. The Turkish language is like that, it says 
much in few words. 41 Go quickly where he wishes you. 


Ah ! ah ! ah ! Upon my word this is very funny. What 
a dupe ! If he had learned his part by heart, he could not 
play it better. Ah ! ah ! 


Cov. I beg of you, Sir, to be good enough to assist us 
in an affair that is going on in this house. 

DOR. Ah! ah! Covielle, who would have known you? 
How you are got up ! 

Cov. You see. Ah ! ah ! 

DOR. What are you laughing at. 

Cov. At something Sir, that well deserves it. 

DOR. What? 

Cov. I could give you many chances, Sir, to guess the 
trick of which we are making use with M. Jourdain, to 
induce him to give his daughter to my master. 

DOR. I cannot guess the stratagem; but I can guess 
that it will not fail to produce its effect, since you have 
taken it in hand. 

Cov. I know, Sir, that the animal is not unknown to 

DOR. Tell me what it is. 

Cov. Take the trouble to draw a little aside to make 
room for what I perceive coming along. You will be able 
to see a part of the story, while I tell you the rest. 

and dancing. 

First Entry of the Ballet. 
Six Turks enter gravely two by two, to the sound of in- 

41 This remark of Covielle is taken from Rotrou's comedy, The Sister, 
where a roguish servant also takes six lines to express the meaning of 
vare hec. 

44 The music for this ceremony was by the celebrated Lulli, who acted 
the part of the mufti. 


struments. They carry three carpets, which they lift very 
high, after having formed several figures with it, while 
dancing. The singing Turks pass beneath these carpets, and 
range themselves on both sides of the stage. The mufti, 
accompanied by the dennshes, close up the procession. Then 
the Turks lay the carpets on the floor, and kneel down upon 
them. The mufti and the dervishes remain standing in the 
midst of them; and, while the mufti invokes Mahomet, 
making many contortions and grimaces, without uttering a 
single word, the assistant Turks prostrate themselves on the 
ground, singing, Alii, then raise their hands to heaven, 
singing, Allah; which they continue to do until the end of 
the invocation, after which they all rise, singing, Alia eckber; 
and two dervishes go and fetch M. Jourdain. 

dancing, M. JOURDAIN dressed in Turkish costume, . 
his head shaved, without turban or sabre. 

MUFTI. (To M. Jourdain). 

If you know, 
You answer ; 
If you do not know, 
You be silent, silent. 
I am the Mufti. 

Who are you, you? 

Not understand, * 

You be silent. 
(Two dervishes retire with M. Jourdatn. 

and dancing. 

MUFTI. Say, Turk, who is that one ? An Anabaptist ? 
an Anabaptist? 
MUFTI. A Zwinglian? 
MUFTI. A Copht ? 
MUFTI. A Hussite? A Moor? A Contemplative man? 


TURKS. No, no, no. 
MUFTI. No, no, no. Is he a Pagan? 
MUFTI. A Lutheran. 
MUFTI. A Puritan ? 

MUFTI. A Brahmin ? A Moffina? A Zurina? ** 
TURKS. No, no, no. 

MUFTI. No, no, no. A Mahometan ? A Mahometan ? 
TURKS. Yes, by Allah ! 

MUFTI. What is his name ? What is his name ? 
TURKS. Jourdain, Jourdain." 

MUFTI. (Jumping and looking on all sides}. Jourdain ? 
Jourdain ? 

TURKS. Jourdain, Jourdain. 
MUFTI. Mahomet, for Jourdain, 

I pray, night and morning. 

I wish to make a paladine 

Of Jourdain, of Jourdain. 

Give the turban, and give the scimitar, 

With the galley, and the brigantine 

To defend Palestine. 

Mahomet, for Jourdain, 

I pray, night and morning. 

(Tb the Turki). Will he be a good Turk, Jourdain? 
TURKS. Yes, by Allah. 

MUFTI. Ha la ba, ba la chou, ba la ba, ba la da. 45 
TURKS. Ha la ba, ba la chou, ba la ba, ba la da. 

Second Entry of the Ballet. 
Singing and Dancing Turks. 

43 These two last words belong to no known sect. 

44 The whole of this ceremony is written in the lingua franca, the lan- 
guage spoken in the Levant. Some of the words used are not correctly 
spelt. We give the beginning of the original : THE MUFTI. Se ti sabir, ti 
respondir ; se non sabir tazir, tazir. Mi star muphti, ti qui star, ti ? Non 
intendir ? tazir, tazir. 

46 These words have no sense, but in correcting them we easily get the 
Turkish words Allah, baba, hou, Allah, baba, God, my father, God, God, 
my father. 


Singing and Dancing Turks. 

The Mufti comes back with his state turban, which is 
enormously large, and decorated with four or five rows of 
lighted candles : he is accompanied by two dervishes who 
carry the Koran, and who have pointed caps, also decorated 
with candles. 

Two other dervishes bring in M.Jourdain, and make him 
kneel down, the hands on the ground, so that his back, on 
which is placed the Koran, may serve as a desk to the Mufti, 
who makes a second burlesque invocation, knitting his eye- 
brows, and opening his mouth, without saying a word; then 
speaking vehemently, sometimes softening his tone, sometimes 
raising it with such an enthusiasm, as to make one tremble, 
holding his sides with his hands, as if to make the words 
come out, beating from time to time on the Koran, and turn- 
ing over the leaves precipitately, after which, lifting his hands 
to heaven, the Mufti cries in a loud voice, Hou* During 
this invocation, the Turkish assistants, bowing down and 
rising alternately, also sing Hou, hou, hou. 

M. JOUR. (After the Koran has been taken from his 
back} Ouf. 

MUFTI. {To M. Jourdain). You are not a rogue? 

TURKS. No, no, no. 

MUFTI. Are not a cheat ? 

TURKS. No, no, no. 

MUFTI. {To Turks'). Give a turban? 

TURKS. You are not a rogue? 

No, no, no. 

Are not a cheat ? 

No, no, no. 

Give a turban. 47 

46 Hou, the Arab for him, is one of the names which the Mussulmans 
give to God. 

47 Ti non star furba No, no, no. Non star forfanta ? No, no, no. 
Donar turbanta. 


Third Entry of the Ballet. 

The dancing Tutks place the turban on the head of A 
Jourdain to the sound of the instruments. 

MUFTI. {Handing a sabre to M. Jourdain). 

You be noble, not a fable. 

Take the sabre.* 8 
TURKS. {Drawing their sabres). 

You be noble, not a fable, 

Take the sabre. 

< Fourth Entry of the Ballet. 

The dancing Turks give M. Jourdain several strokes with 
the sabre, keeping time with the music. 

Fifth Entry of the Ballet. 

The dancing Turks give M. Jourdain several strokes with 
the stick, keeping time to the music. 

MUFTI. They shall give, they shall give, 

The bastonnade. 49 
TURKS. They shall give, they shall give, 

The bastonnade. 
MUFTI. Not to have shame 

Is the utmost insult. 50 
TURKS. Not to have shame 

Is the utmost insult. 

The mufti commences a third invocation. The dervishes 
support him under his arms with respect; after which the 
singing and dancing Turks, jumping round the mufti, retire 
with him, taking M. Jourdain with them. 



MRS. JOURDAIN. Have mercy upon us, good Heaven ! 
What is this ? What a figure ! Are you going to carry a 

48 Ti star nobile, non star fabbola Pigliar schiabbola. 

49 Dara, dara, bastonnara. 

40 Non tener honta; Questa star 1'ultima affronta. 


momon- and is this a time to go out masquerading? 
Speak, what is all this ? Who has dressed you out in this 
fashion ? 

M. JOUR. Listen to the impertinent woman ! to speak 
in this manner to a mamamouchi ! 

MRS. JOUR. What is that ? 

M. JOUR. Yes, you will have to show me a little more 
respect now. I have just been made a mamamouchi. 

MRS. JOUR. What do you mean with your mamamouchi / 

M. JOUR. Mamamouchi, I tell you. I am mamamouchi. 

MRS. JOUR. What sort of animal is that ? 

M. JOUR. Mamamouchi, that means in our language 

MRS. JOUR. Bladain!** Are you of an age to dance in 
the ballet? 

M. JOUR. What ignorance ! I say paladine : it is a 
dignity with which I have just been invested, with great 

MRS. JOUR. What ceremony, then ? 

M. JOUR. Mahametaperjordina. 

MRS. JOUR. What does that mean. 

M. JOUR. Jordina, means Jourdain. 

MRS. JOUR. Well ! What, Jourdain ? 

M. JOUR. Voler far un faladina de Jordina. 

MRS. JOUR. What? 

M. JOUR. Dar turbanta con galera. 

MRS. JOUR. What does it mean, that? 

M. JOUR. Per defender Palestina. 

MRS. JOUR. What is it you wish to say? 

M. JOUR. Dara, dara, bastonnara. 

MRS. JOUR. What is all this gibberish ? 

M. JOUR. Non tener honta, questa star f ultima af- 

MRS. JOUR. But what is it, all this ? 

M. JOUR. (Singing and dancing]. Hou la ba, ba la 
chou, ba la ba, ba la da. (ffe falls to the ground"). 

MRS. JOUR. Alas ! good Heavens ! my husband is gone 

51 See Vol. I., page 46, note 22. 

52 Madam Jourdain is not acquainted with the word "paladine," but 
knows baladin, a ballet-dancer. 


M. JOUR. {Getting up and walking away). Peace, in- 
solent woman. Show respect to a mamamouchi. 

MRS. JOUR. (Alone). Where could he have lost his 
senses? I had better run and prevent his going out. 
(Perceiving Dorimene and Dorante). Ah ! ah ! it wanted 
nothing but this." I see nothing but grief on all sides. 


DOR. Yes, Madam, you shall witness the most amusing 
thing that could be seen; and I do not believe that it 
would be possible to find in the whole world another man 
so mad as this one. And besides, Madam, we must try 
to forward Cleonte's love affair, and to support all his 
masquerade. He is a very gentlemanly man, and one 
who deserves that we should interest ourselves in him. 

DORI. I think a great deal of him, and he is worthy of 
a good fortune. 

DOR. In addition to all this, we have here, Madam, a 
ballet that is owing to us, and which we must take care 
not to lose ; and we must see whether my idea shall not 

DORI. I have noticed some magnificent preparations, 
but they are things, Dorante, which I can no longer allow. 
Yes, I will make an end of your profusion : and to put a 
stop to all the expenses which I see you make for me, I 
have made up my mind to be married quickly to you. 
That is the real secret ; and all these things finish with 

DOR. Ah ! Madam, is it possible that you can have 
taken such a sweet resolution for my sake ? 

DORI. It is only to prevent you from ruining yourself; 
and without this, I see plainly, that, before long, you will 
not possess a penny. 

DOR. How obliged I am to you, Madam, for the care 
which you take to preserve my estate! It is entirely 
yours, as well as my heart, and you shall do with it as you 

DORI. I shall use them both well. But here comes your 
man ; he has a nice figure. 

53 In the original void jvstement le reste de noire ecu, " here is just the 
remainder of our crown," meaning " this completes our misfortune.' 1 



DOR. We come to do homage, Sir, this lady and my- 
self, to your new dignity, and to rejoice with you about 
the marriage of your daughter with the son of the Grand 

M. JOUR. (After having bowed in the Turkish fashion}. 
Sir, I wish you the strength of the serpent and the cun- 
ning of the lion. 

DORI. I am very glad to be among the first, Sir, to 
come to congratulate you upon the high degree of honour 
which you have reached. 

M. JOUR. Madam, I wish you all the year your rose- 
tree in flower. I am infinitely obliged to you for taking 
an interest in the honours that have come to me ; and I 
have much joy in seeing you returned here, in order to 
tender you my humble excuses for the foolish behaviour 
of my wife. 

DORI. Do not mention it ; I can excuse this kind of 
feeling in her : your heart must be precious to her ; and 
it is not at all strange that the possession of a man like 
you must inspire her with some alarm. 

M. JOUR. The possession of my heart is a thing which 
you have entirely acquired. 

DOR. You see, Madam, that M. Jourdain is not one of 
those people who are blinded by prosperity, and that even 
in his greatness, he knows to value his friends. 

DORI. It is the sign of a perfectly generous heart. 

DOR. But where is his Turkish Highness? As your 
friends we should like to pay our respects to him. 

M. JOUR. Here he comes ; and I have sent for my 
daughter to give him her hand. 

CLEONTE, dressed as a Turk. 

DOR. (To Cleonte). Sir, we have come to pay our com- 
pliments to your Highness, as friends of this gentleman, 
your father-in-law, and to assure you respectfully of our 
humble devotion. 

M. JOUR. Where is the dragoman, to tell him who you 
are, and to make him understand what you say ? You 


shall see how he answers you ; he speaks Turkish marvel- 
lously. {To Cleonte). Hullo ! where the deuce is he gone 
to ? Strouf, strif, strof, straf. This gentleman is grande 
segnore, grande segnore, grande segnore, and this lady, a 
granda dama, granda dama. (Seeing that he cannot make 
himself understood}. This gentleman, he, French mama- 
mouchi, and Madam, French female mamamouchi. I 
cannot speak more clearly. Good ! here comes the inter- 

dressed as a Turk, COVIELLE, disguised. 

M. JOUR. Where have you been ? We do not know 
how to say anything without you. (Pointing to Cleonte). 
Just say this lady and gentleman are people of quality, 
who have come to pay their respects to him, as my friends, 
and to assure him of their devotion. (To Dorimene and 
Dorante). You shall see how he will answer.. 

Cov. Alabala crociam acci boram alabamen. 

CLE. Catalequi tubal ourin soter amalcwchan. 

M. JOUR. {To Dorimene and Dot ante). Do you see? 

Cov. He says, may the rain of prosperity at all times 
water the garden of your family. 

M. JOUR. I told you well enough that he speaks 


M. JOUR. Come, daughter, draw near, and give your 
hand to this gentleman, who does you the honour of 
asking you in marriage. 

Luc. How now, father, how you are dressed out. Is it 
a comedy you are playing ? 

M. JOUR. No, it is not a comedy ; it is a very serious 
affair ; one as full of honour for you as you could wish. 
(Pointing to Cleonte). This is the husband whom I give 

Luc. To me, father ! 

M. JOUR. Yes, to you. Come, give him your hand ; 
and thank Heaven for your good fortune. 


Luc. I do not wish to marry. 

M. JOUR. But I wish it, I, your father. 

Luc. I shall do nothing of the kind. 

M. JOUR. Ah ! what noise ! Come, I tell you. Here, 
your hand. 

Luc. No, father ; I have told you there is no power 
which shall force me to take another husband than 
Cleonte, and I would sooner resolve to every extremity 
than to . . . {Recognising Cleonte). It is true you are my 
father, I owe you entire obedience ; and it is for you to 
dispose of me according to your will. 

M. JOUR. Ah ! I am delighted to find you so promptly 
returned to your duty ; and it pleases me much to have 
a daughter so obedient. 



MRS. JOUR. How now ? What is all this ? They say 
that you wish to give your daughter in marriage to a 
mummer. 54 

M. JOUR. Will you hold your tongue, you impertinent 
woman? You are always coming to mix your extra- 
vagances in everything; there is no possibility of teaching 
you to be reasonable. 

MRS. JOUR. It is you whom there is no teaching to be 
sensible, and you go from one folly to another. What is 
your intention? What do you mean to do with all this 

M. JOUR. I wish to marry our daughter to the son of 
the Grand Turk. 

MRS. JOUR. To the son of the Grand Turk ? 

M. JOUR. {Pointing to Covielle). Yes, pay him your 
respects through the dragoman, whom you see there. 

MRS. JOUR. I have nothing to do with the dragoman ; 
and I will tell him well enough myself, and to his face, 
that he shall not have my daughter. 

M. JOUR. Once more, will you hold your tongue? 

DOR. What, Mrs. Jourdain, you oppose yourself to an 

u The original has careme-'prenant. See page 227, note 18. 


honour like this? You refuse his Turkish Highness for 
a son-in-law. 

MRS. JOUR. Good Heavens ! Sir, concern yourself with 
your own affairs. 

DORIM. It is a great honour, which you should not 

MRS. JOUR. Madam, I also beg of you not to trouble 
yourself with what does not concern you. 

DOR. It is the friendship we have for you which makes 
us take an interest in your prosperity. 

MRS. JOUR. I will willingly dispense with your friend- 

M. JOUR. Here is your daughter who consents to the 
wishes of her father. 

MRS. JOUR. My daughter consents to marry a Turk? 

DOR. Undoubtedly. 

MRS. JOUR. She can forget Cleonte ? 

DOR. What does one not do to become a grand lady? 

MRS. JOUR. I would strangle her with my own hands if 
she played a trick like that. 

M. JOUR". There is a lot of cackle ! I tell you that 
this marriage shall take place. 

MRS. JOUR. And I tell you that it shall not take place. 

M. JOUR. Ah ! what noise ! 

Luc. Mother ! 

MRS. JOUR. Go, you are a jade. 

M. JOUR. {To Mrs. Jourdain). What! you quarrel with 
her for obeying me ! 

MRS. JOUR. Yes ! she belongs to me as well as to 

Cov. (To Mrs. Jourdain). Madam! 

MRS. JOUR. What do you wish with me, you ? 

Cov. One word. 

MRS. JOURDAIN. I do not wish your one word. 

Cov. (To M. Jourdain). Sir, if she will but listen to 
one word in private, I promise you to make her consent 
to your wishes. 


M. JOUR. (To Mrs. Jourdain). Hear him. 

MRS. JOUR. No, I shall not hear him. 

M. JOUR. He will tell you . . . 


MRS. JOUR. I do not wish you to tell me anything. 

M. JOUR. Look at the great obstinacy of the woman ! 
Will it do you any harm to listen ? 

Cov. Do but hear me, afterwards you shall do as you 

MRS. JOUR. Very well ! What ? 

Cov. (In a whisper to Mrs. Jourdairi). For the last 
hour we have been making signals to you. Do not you 
see that all this is done to accommodate ourselves to the 
fancies of your husband ; that we are deceiving him under 
this disguise ; and that it is Cl6onte himself who is the son 
of the Grand Turk ? . . . 

M. JOUR. (In a whisper to Covielle]. Ah ! ah ! 

Cov. (In a whisper to Mrs. Jourdairi). And that it is 
I, Covielle, who am the dragoman? 

M. JOUR. (In a whisper to Covielle}. In that case I 

Cov. (In a whisper to Mrs. Jourdairi]. Pretend to 
know nothing of the matter. 

MRS. JOUR. (Aloud}. Yes, it is all over. I consent to 
the match. 

M. JOUR. Ah ! Every one becomes reasonable. (To 
Mrs. Jourdairi). You would not hear him. I know well 
enough that he would explain to you what the son of the 
Grand Turk was. 

MRS. JOUR. He has explained it to me properly, and I 
am satisfied with it. Let us send for the notary. 

DOR. That is well said. And so that you may have 
your mind altogether at ease, Mrs. Jourdain, and may 
do away from this day with all the jealousy that you 
may have conceived about your husband, this lady, and 
I, we will make use of the same notary to get mar- 

MRS. JOUR. I also consent to this. 

M. JOUR. (In a whisper to Dorante). It is to hood- 
wink her. 

DOR. (In a whisper to M. Jourdairi). We must amuse 
her with this feint. 

M. JOUR. Good, good. (Aloud}. Let them go and 
fetch the notary. 

DOR. In the meantime, while he is coming, and draws 


up the contracts, let us see our ballet, and let us give the 
entertainment to his Turkish Highness. 

M. JOUR. Well thought of. Let us go and take our 

MRS. JOUR. And Nicole. 

M. JOUR. I give her to the dragoman, and my wife to 
whosoever will take her. 

Cov. Sir, I am obliged to you. (Aside). If it be possi- 
ble to find a bigger fool, I will go and publish it in 
Rome. (The comedy finishes by a ballet, which had been 



(A man comes to hand round the books of the ballet, who 
immediately is worried by a multitude of people of different 
provinces, who cry to have some music, and by three trouble- 
some fellows, who are dogging his footsteps. .) 


Who ask books to the accompaniment of music. 

ALL. To me, Sir, to me pray, to me, Sir ; a book, if 
you please, to your humble servant. 

A FASHIONABLE GENTLEMAN. 55 Distinguish us, Sir, 
from amongst the folks that shout : Some books here, the 
ladies beg of you. 

ANOTHER. Hullo ! Sir, Sir, have the kindness to throw 
some to our side. 

A FASHIONABLE LADY. Good Heavens ! how little 
honour is paid to people of importance in this house ! 

ANOTHER. They have no books or seats, except for 

A GASCON." Ah ! you man with the books, just give 
me some. My lungs are already tired out. Do not you 

65 In the original, homme du bel air. 

88 This word was used, in Moliere's time, to designate " citizen's daugh- 

57 The Gascons speak in their dialect, which consists chiefly of using a b 
for a v, as libres for livres, bovs for vous, boyez for voyez, and also using z 
for b, as varon for baron; they also accent all e's asj'e, que, me. 


see that everyone laughs at me, and that I am scandalized 
to see in the hands of the rabble what is being refused to 
me by you. 

ANOTHER. He ! zounds, you sir, consider who one may 
be. A book, I pray you, for the Baron of Asvarat. Upon 
my word, I think that the coxcomb has not the honour 
of knowing me. 

A Swiss. You, mister giver away of paper, 58 what means 
this way of acting ; I am crying my very throat to pieces, 
without being able to obtain a book. Upon my word, 
you Sir, I think that you are drunk. 

AN OLD CHATTERING CITIZEN. Of all this, plainly 
speaking, I am very ill-satisfied ; and it is far from nice 
that our daughter, so well-made and so pretty, the object 
of so many lovers, should not have, according to her 
wish, a book of the ballet, to read up the subject of the 
entertainment about to be given ; and that all our family 
should so stylish have dressed themselves to be placed at 
the top of the hall where the interlopers 59 are generally 
placed. Of all this, plainly speaking, I am very ill-satis- 
fied, and it is far from nice. 

is a shame ; the blood rushes to my face ; and this poe- 
taster, who overlooks the principals, understands his busi- 
ness very badly. He is a brute no better than a horse 
a downright animal, to take so little notice of a girl who 
is the principal ornament of the neighbourhood of the 
Palais-Royal, and with whom, only a few days ago, a 
count opened the ball. He understands his business 
badly ; he is a brute no better than a horse a down- 
right animal. 

noise ! what a' row ! what chaos ! what a medley ! what 
confusion ! what strange uproar ! what disorder ! what 
tumult ! One is being dried up here. One can no 
longer bear it. 

GASCON. Zounds ! I am entirely yours. 

58 The Swiss uses his dialect, of which we give the two first lines : 
" Morisiur le donneur de papieir, que veul dire stifafon defifre?' 

69 The original has les gens de I'entrignet, of which the meaning is only 



ANOTHER. I am bursting with rage, hang it ! 

Swiss. Ah ! how hot it is in this room ! 

GASCON. I am choking ! 

ANOTHER. I am losing my breath ! 

Swiss. Upon my word, I would like to be outside. 

OLD CHATTERING CITIZEN. Come, my dear, follow my 
steps I pray you, and do not leave me. They take too 
little notice of us ; and I am tired of this tumult. All 
this row, this confusion, is too much for me. If ever the 
inclination takes me to return, any day of my life, to 
comedy or ballet, I hope they may maim me. Come, my 
dear, follow my steps, I pray you, do not leave me ; and 
they take too little notice of us. 

Old Chattering Female Citizen. Come along my pet, 
my son, let us get back to our domicile. And let us de- 
part from this hole where one cannot sit down. They will 
be astonished enough when they'll find us gone. Too 
much confusion reigns in this room ; and I would sooner 
be in the midst of the market. If ever I come back to a 
similar feast, I will allow them to slap my face half-a-dozen 
times. Come along, my pet, my son, let us go back to 
our domicile, and depart from this hole where one cannot 
sit down. 

ALL. To me, Sir, to me, pray, to me, Sir ; a book it 
you please, to your humble servant. 


The three troublesome fellows dance. 


{Three Spaniards singing). m 

I know that I am dying with love, and I court grief. 
Though dying with desire, I fade with so much grace, that 
what I desire to suffer is more than what I suffer ; and the 
severity of my grief does not exceed my desire for it. I 
know, &c., &c. 

Fate treats me with so forbearing a pity, that it assures 
me life in the danger of death. To live of so terrible a 

* The original is in Spanish. 


stroke is the prodigy of my deliverance. I know, &c., 
&c. {Eight Spaniards dance. 

IST SPANIARD. (Singing). Ah ! how foolish to com- 
plain of love, so harshly ! of the little boy who is gentle- 
ness itself ! Ah ! what folly ! ah ! what folly ! 

2D Spaniard. (Singing). Grief torments hkn who aban- 
dons himself to grief; and no one dies of love, unless it 
is the one who does not know how to love. 

BOTH SPANIARDS. To die of love is sweet when one is 
repaid; and if we enjoy it to-day, why will you trouble 
death ? 

IST SPANIARD. (Singing). Let the lover rejoice and 
take my advice ; for when one desires, everything is to find 
the means. 

THE THREE TOGETHER. Come, let us have feasting and 
dancing. Let us be gay gay, gay : grief is nothing but a 


An Italian female musician sings the first recital in the 
following words. 

Having 61 armed my breast with sternness, I revolted 
against Cupid ; but I was conquered, with the swiftness of 
lightning, by looking at two fair eyes. Ah ! how little 
can a heart of ice resist a dart of fire ! 

My torture is, however, so dear to me, and my wound 
so sweet, that my pain causes me to be happy, and that to 
cure me would be tyranny. Ah ! the more violent the 
love, the more charms has it and causes the more 

After the musician has sung this air, two Scaramouches, 
two Trivelins, and a Harlequin, represent, in the Italian 
manner, to the accompaniment of music, night to be falling. . M 
An Italian musician joins the female musician, and sings 
with her the following words : 

MUSICIANS. The glorious time which is flying past, takes 

61 The original is in Italian. 

62 The falling night was represented by the actors wrapping themselves 
in dark cloaks, passing slowly across the stage, keeping time to slow music. 


also our pleasures away ; in the school of love one must 
profit by the opportunity. 

FEMALE MUSICIAN. As long as our blooming age smiles 
upon us, which, alas, too promptly leaves us. 

BOTH. Let us sing, let us enjoy ourselves in the beauti- 
ful days of our youth ; a thing lost is never recovered. 

FEMALE MUSICIAN. A fair eye enchains many hearts; 
its wounds are sweet ; the pain it causes is happiness. 

FEMALE. But when icy old age comes, the stagnant 
heart has no longer any fire. 

BOTH. Therefore let us sing and enjoy ourselves in the 
beautiful days of our youth ; a good thing lost is never 

After the Italian dialogues, the Scaramouches and Trive- 
Uns perform a merry dance. 


Two Musicians from Poitou dance and sing the 
following words : 

FIRST MINUET. Ah ! how beautiful it is in these groves, 
what a glorious day does Heaven send us. 

ANOTHER MUSICIAN. The nightingale, beneath this ver- 
dant foliage, warbles to the echoes the song of his sweet 
return. This beauteous spot, these glorious woods, this 
beauteous spot invites us to love. 

SECOND MINUET. (Both together). Behold, dear Climene, 
'neath this old oak, these love-sick birds cooing. Nothing 
obstructs them in their desires ; their hearts are filled with 
their sweet flames ; how happy they are ! We both might 
likewise, if you so wish it, be as happy as they. 

Six other Frenchmen come afterwards, beautifully dressed 
in the Poitou costume, three men and three women, accompa- 
nied by eight flutes and hautboys, and dance some minuets. 


The whole finishes up by a medley of the three nations, and 
the applause expressed in dancing and music by the whole of 
the spectators on the scene, who sing the following two 
verses : 

What charming spectacle, what pleasures are we enjoying, 
The gods themselves have none so sweet as these. 






JANUARY lyxa, 1671. 


SINCE the death of Cardinal Mazarin, representations of operas were no 
longer in vogue ; and in the beginning of Louis XIV.'s reign, it was 
thought that no audience could endure music for three hours. Tragedies 
were attempted, with songs and dances in the interludes ; but Lulli and 
Quinault first snowed that all emotions could be expressed by music. In 
1670, the King wished a play to be written, in which tragedy, music, and 
splendid stage-display should be united, and Moliire was entrusted with 
the composition of it. In the preface of the bookseller to the reader, 
we see what share he had in Psyche for so was the tragedy called and 
what the great poet Pierre Corneille, then sixty-five years old, wrote of 
it. All the words that were sung were written by Quinault, and the 
music was by Lulli. Psyche was first represented at the Tuileries, on the 
lyth of January 1671, before Louis XIV., the Dauphin, Monsieur, 
Mademoiselle d'Orleans, and the whole court, and was afterwards re- 
peated several times before the same high-born audience. It ,was acted, 
with somewhat diminished splendour, in the theatre of the Palais-Royal, 
on the 24th of July of the same year, and had thirty-eight consecutive 

The first idea of Psyche is to be found in The Golden Ass, a romance of 
the second century of the Christian era, written in Latin, by Apuleius, a 
Greek. An old woman relates the following story to a young damsel, 
who is a prisoner of " savage robbers." It is in the fifth episode of the 
fourth, fifth, and sixth books, and is called Cupid and Psyche. We give 
it in an abbreviated form : 

" Once upon a time, in a certain city, there lived a king and a queen, and they 
had three fair daughters. The transcendent loveliness of the younger baffled the 
power of human language, and the inhabitants of the country worshipped her, as if 
she had been Venus herself. This incensed the Goddess, and she sent for her 
winged son Cupid, and implored him to punish the contumacious beauty, and to 
inspire her heart with ardent love for a miserable grovelling outcast. Psyche, in 
spite of her matchless loveliness, found no suitors, and her father, suspicious of the 
enmity of the Celestials, consulted the ancient oracle of Apollo, which said that the 
maid should be left on a rock, in bridal dress arrayed, to find as bridegroom 'a 
wicked, cruel, viperous elf.' She proceeded to the lofty rock, and was left there. 
Suddenly the mild breath of Zepnvrus blew a gentle breeze, and, tenderly lifting 
her adown the mountain height, laia her in the flowery lap of the valley below, 
where there was a spacious, extensive palace, not formed by human hands, wherein 
she entered, and was waited upon by invisible beings, and entertained with songs 
and music by invisible musicians. Psyche had retired to rest, when, at the dead 

280 PSYCHE. 

of night a gentle murmuring sound fell upon her ears. Before the dawn of day, 
the invisible spouse of Psyche had left her and fled far away, and the voices as be- 
fore came to render homage to their mistress, and hail the new-made bride. By 
dint of supplications and remonstrances she obtained permission from her husband 

w jj O rem ained always invisible to see her sisters, but he strictly enjoined her to 

keep the invisibility of his form a profound secret. The sisters came, and Psyche 
gave them valuable presents, which only made them very envious. At last they 
pressed her so often, that she betrayed her husband's secret. They then told her 
that her own life was in danger, that her husband was a serpent, and advised her to 
hide a lamp and sharp knife, and when he was asleep, completely to cut off his head. 
Now when her husband came, and was overwhelmed with sound sleep, Psyche 
arose, intending to fulfil her purpose, but the rays of the light showed that her 
spouse was no other than the beautiful God of love, Cupid himself. She stood en- 
tranced when a drop of scalding oil spirted on Cupid's right shoulder. Up sprang 
the scalded deity, and in spite of Psyche's repeated entreaties, immediately flew 
away She wished to drown herself; but the gentle river tossed her unhurt and 
safe upon a tuft of green grass. The forlorn young wife was wandering all over the 
country, in search of her recreant husband ; her two sisters, as a reward for their 
perfidy, had been dashed to death against the rocks. Her prayers to Ceres and 
Juno to grant her assistance were ineffectual, as these goddesses did not like to 
offend Venus, who was incensed against her, because Cupid had fallen in love with 
Psyche, instead of avenging his mother. At last the wretched young wife falls into 
Venus's hands, who immediately flew violently upon her, and, rending open the 
bosom of her dress, and tearing her clothes in a great many places, shook her by 
the head, pulled out her hair by the roots, and otherwise grievously ill-used her. 
Then she commanded her to separate an enormous heap of mixed seeds of wheat, 
barley, millet, poppy, vetches, lentils, and beans, in which she is assisted by ants 
who perform the task for her. Another day Venus told her to fetch some wool of a 
flock of savage sheep, grazing on the brink of whirling eddies. A benevolent reed 
showed her a grove, where, on the branches of the bushes, she found the golden 
wool which she needed. Another day she is sent with a crystal flagon to fill it 
with icy water of the highest spring, on the topmost summit of craggy and distant 
mountains. An eagle came, seized the flagon in its beak, and flapping its pinions 
as it steered its course, had it filled, and returned with it to Psyche. Then Venus 
sent her with a box to Proserpine, in the deadly abode of Pluto, to request some of 
the beauty of the goddess of the infernal regions, were it only sufficient to last a 
short winter's day. She started with two barley-cakes and two pieces of money; 
the cakes to be given to Cerberus, the coins to Charon, and finally returns to the 
bright light of day with the box which Proserpine had given her. But irresistible 
curiosity seized her. See wished to take to herself a morsel of divine beauty, were 
it only for the sake of fascinating her own beautiful lover. She opened the box, 
from which immediately arose an infernal, somniferous, truly Stygian vapour, 
which made her fall down with limbs collapsed, and motionless as a corpse. But 
Cupid, who had recovered from the effects of his burn, flew away from his mother's 
palace, and cutting through the air with more than ordinary rapidity, very soon 
reached Psyche, whom he relieved from the obnoxious vapour ; thence darted to the 
abode of Jupiter, before whom he pleaded the pardon of Psyche submissively. 
The father of gods and men granted it, saying : The good service that I render 
thee now thou mayest one day requite, if peradventure a maiden of more than com- 
mon beauty chance to fall in thy way. He then ordered Mercury to find Psyche, 
and bring her up to Heaven, gave her a cup of ambrosia, to make her immortal, 
affianced Cupid to her, and in due time she was brought to bed of a daughter, 
whom we call Pleasure." 

It is clear that Apuleius, in this fable, wished to represent allegorically 
the career of the human soul, through scenes of mortal tribulation, to a 
state of celestial beatitude after death. But he also desired to teach, I 
suppose, that we, mortals, ought not to endeavour to fathom the mystery of 
happiness : that we should not scrutinize too much men's actions, but ac- 
cept with gratitudy that which the gods in their wisdom have provided for 

In the thirteenth century, Denys Piramus, the author of Partcnopeus of 
Blots, treated the story of Psyche from a chivalric point of view. The 

PSYCHE. 28l 

Spanish dramatist Calderon composed on the same subject an auto sacra- 
mentale, in which Eros represents the Saviour, Psyche the soul of the 
faithful aspiring to go to Him, and the marriage of the two lovers the 
union of God and man in the Eucharist. That great painter Raphael has 
also immortalized the Greek story by a series of twelve pictures, and by 
thirty-two drawings, which have been engraved. 

La Fontaine published in 1669 his tale, The Loves of Psyche and Cupid; 
and among the three friends to whom the author pretends that he read his 
work, one of them, Gelaste, who is said to stand for Moliere, defends 
laughter and comedy against tragedy. 

Moliere had already sketched the plan of his play, written the Pro- 
logue, the first Act, and the first Scene of the second and third Acts, 
when Louis XIV. expressed his will to have Psyche finished before Lent 
Moliere, therefore, took Pierre Corneille, then sixty -five years old, to as- 
sist him, and the latter wrote the other scenes in a fortnight. Quinault 
wrote the words of the songs ; and Lulli, the composer of the music, 
added the Italian verses of the first interlude. 

The tragedie-ballet Psyche is not unworthy of the illustrious men who 
had a hand in it. The grand scene of the second Act between the king 
and his daughter is generally considered very heart-stirring ; and it is not 
impossible that Moliere may have written it under the impression of some 
loss which he deeply felt. Some commentators suppose that his eldest 
son died about this time ; but this is impossible, for the child died in the 
same year in which he was born (1664). l The appearance of the two 
princes in the infernal regions possesses almost a Shakspearean grandeur. 
Psyche, declaring her love to Cupid, is one of the most tender and 
natural speeches of the French stage ; and as a whole, everything Cor- 
neille has written in this tragedy bears the impress of his lofty genius, and 
of his masterly handling of verse. 

The difference between the influences which envy works in the charac- 
ters of Psyche's two sisters, Aglaura and Cydippe, is also finely delineated, 
and reminds one of the brother and sister of Clarissa Harlowe. 

The author of the pamphlet Histoire de la Guerin (See Introductory 
Notice to the Impromptu of Versailles, Vol. II.,) says that Baron, who had 
quarrelled with Madame Moliere during the performance of Melicerte, 
(see Introductory Notice to Melicerte, Vol. I.,) and had left Moliere and 
his troupe, made his re-appearance as Cupid in Psyche. He was only 
eighteen years old ; but Moliere's wife is rumoured to have changed her 
hatred of the youthful actor into a feeling of warm affection and love, to 
which Baron is accused of having responded. I have already said that 
the scandalous gossip from behind the wings ought hardly to deserve any 

In 1678, seven years after the Psyche of Moliere and Corneille, an 
opera was brought out, of which the words were by Fontenelle, and the 
music by Lulli. It was only a transformation of the original play, with 
the classical ending, and with several of the songs of the old tragedie- 

The book of the billet of Psyche has, by some commentators of Mo- 
li&re, been held as having been written by himself. We dare not decide 
that question ; but we do not print it, because the chief difference be- 
tween the interludes given in the book, and those as produced by us, is, 

1 Eud.Soulie, Recherchts sttr Moiiiri. 

282 PSYCHE. 

that in the first, each of the principal divinities only declaims a recit, 
whilst in the latter, they sing also a song. 

Thomas Heywood, the English dramatist, wrote a play, Love ' s Mis- 
tress ; or, the Queen's Masque, which was published in 1636. The second 
title was added from its having been acted at court. It is the story of 
Cupid and Psyche, based upon Apuleius ; and Apuleius himself appears as 
the presenter, and explains the meaning of the allegory, as it goes on, to 
his collocutor Midas. There is in this play a contention between Apollo 
and Pan, in which the clown, the champion of the latter divinity, sings a 
song, and states that the God of Verse is not like Pan, nor like a dripping- 
pan, a frying-pan, a pudding-pan, or a warming-pan. Midas, who is the 
umpire of the contest probably on account of his long ears adjudges 
the victory to Pan, whom " all the year we follow, but semel in anno videt 

Thomas Shadwell wrote also a Psyche, which is chiefly taken from Mo- 
liere's play of the same name, with some additions. It was brought out at 
the theatre, Dorset Garden, in February 1673, splendidiy set out with 
new scenes, machinery, dances, and costly dresses, and was very success- 
ful. It was the first piece Shadwell wrote in verse ; hence, says Lang- 
baine, " most of the Crambo-poets were up in arms against it." 


THIS work was not all done by one hand, M. Quinault wrote 
the words which were set to music, except the Italian com- 
plaint. M. Moliere drew the plan of the piece, and regulated 
the disposition, in which he regarded beauty and pomp of 
spectacle more than exact regularity. As for the versification, 
he had not time to do it. The Carnival approached ; and the 
pressing orders of the King, who wished to have this magnifi- 
cent entertainment represented several times before Lent, 
obliged him to allow a little assistance. Thus only the pro- 
logue, the first act, the first scene of the second, and the first 
of the third acts were put into verse by him. M. Corneille 
employed a fortnight on the rest ; and, by these means, his 
Majesty was served, in the time he commanded.* 

* It if supposed that this preface of the bookseller was written by Moliere him- 






. Graces. 

THE KING, father to Psyche. 


> Psyche s sisters,. 


> in love with Psyche. 

LYCAS, Captain of the guards. 

This part was played by Moliere himself; and small as it was, he 
managed to give it a certain individuality. 




The scene represents in front of the stage a rustic spot, and 
at the back, a rock with an opening in the middle, 
through which the sea appears in the distance. 

Flora is seen in the midst of the stage, accompanied by 

Vertumnus, god of the flowers and trees, and by Palemon, 

god of the streams. Each of these gods conducts a troop of 

divinities; one has in his train dryads and sy Ivans, and the 

other river-gods and naiads. 

Flora sings the following lines to invite Venus to descend to 
the earth : 

War has ceased ; the most powerful of kings interrupts 
his exploits to give peace to the world. 4 Descend, mother 
of Cupid, come and bestow upon us glorious days. 

Vertumnus and Palemon, with the divinities by which 
they are accompanied, join their voices to that of Flora, and 
sing the following words : 

4 Peace was signed at Aix-la-Chapelle on the ad of May 1668. 


288 PSYCHE. 

Chorus of divinities of the earth and the streams, com- 
posed of Flora, nymphs, Palemon, Vertumnus, sy Ivans, 
fauns, dryads, and naiads. 

We taste profound peace ; the sweetest games are here 
below. We owe this rest, so full of charms, to the great- 
est king in the world. Descend, mother of Cupid, and 
bestow upon us glorious days. 

Then follows an entry of the ballet, composed of two dry- 
ads, four sy Ivans, two streams, and two naiads; after which 
Vertumnus and Palemon sing the following dialogue : 

VER. Surrender, cruel fair ones, it is now your turn to 

PAL. Behold the queen of beauty, who comes to inspire 

VER. A beauteous object, ever severe, can never be 
loved well. 

PAL. Beauty may be first to please, but gentleness ends 
by charming. 

THE TWO TOGETHER. Beauty may be first to please, but 
gentleness ends by charming. 

VER. Let us suffer love to wound us ; let us languish, 
since we must. 

PAL. What is the use of a heart without tenderness ? 
Can there be a greater fault ? 

VER. A beauteous object, ever severe, can never be 
loved well. 

PAL. Beauty may be first to please, but gentleness ends 
by charming. 

Flora answers the dialogue of Vertumnus and Palemon by 
this minuet j and the other divinities join their dances 
to it. 

Is it wise, in the flower of life, is it wise, not to love ? 
Let us hasten to taste the pleasures here below, unceas- 
ingly. The wisdom of youth is to know how to enjoy its 
pleasures. Love charms those whom he disarms; love 
charms; let us all yield to him. Vain would be our ef- 
forts to resist his darts; with whatever chains a lover may 
burden himself, liberty has nothing half so sweet. 

PSYCHE. 289 

Venus descends from the heavens in a great machine, with 
her son Cupid, and the two little graces called ^Egiale and 
Phcene ; and the divinities of the earth and streams begin to 
unite their voices, and continue by their dances to testify their 
joy at her arrival. 

Chorus of all the Divinities of the Earth and Streams. 

We taste profound peace ; the sweetest games are here 
below. We owe this rest, so full of charms, to the greatest 
king in the world. Descend, mother of Cupid, and bestow 
upon us glorious days. 

VEN. (In her machine]. Cease, cease for me those songs 
of joy ; such rare honours do not belong to me ; and the 
homage which your goodness now addresses to me, ought 
to be reserved for sweeter charms. It is too old a method 
to come and pay your court to me ; everything has its 
turn, and Venus is no longer in fashion. There are other 
new-born attractions to which incense is offered. Psyche, 
Psyche, the fair one, now-a-days takes my place. Already 
the whole universe hastens to adore her ; and it is too 
much that, in my disgrace, I still find some one who 
deigns to honour me. People do not hesitate between the 
merits of us both ; everyone has been bold enough to leave 
my side, and of the numerous crowd of favourite Graces, 
whose cares and friendship followed me everywhere, there 
remains nothing to me but two of the smallest, who ac- 
company me out of pity. Allow these sombre abodes to 
lend their solitude to my troubled heart, and let me, 
amidst their shadows, hide my shame and grief. 

Flora and the other divinities retire, and Venus, with her 
retinue, descends from the machine. 

We do not know how to act, goddess, in this grief 
beneath which we see you bowed down. Our respect tells 
us to keep silent, while our zeal tells us to speak. 

VEN. Speak ; but if you, by your attentions, aspire to 
please me, leave all your counsels for another time ; and 
do not speak of my anger, unless it be to tell me that I am 
right. It was there, it was there, that the most poignant 


290 PSYCHE. 

offence was given that my divinity could ever receive ; but, 
if the gods have any power, I shall have my revenge. 

PH. You have more sense and wisdom than we have to 
judge what may be worthy of you ; but, as for me, I should 
have thought that a great goddess ought to have put her- 
self less in a rage. 

VEN. And this 5 is the very reason of my great anger. 
The more exalted my rank, the more glaring becomes the 
insult; and did I not hold such a supreme degree, the re- 
sentment of my heart would be less violent. I, the daughter 
of the god who launches the thunderbolts ; mother of the 
god who inspires love ; I, the most ardently wished-for by 
Heaven and earth, and who was born but to charm ; I, 
who have seen so many vows offered at my altars by every- 
thing that breathes, and who, by immortal rights, have 
held the sovereign empire of beauty at all times ; I, whose 
eyes have induced two great deities to concede to me the 
prize of being the most beautiful, I behold my victory and 
my rights disputed by a puny mortal ! The ridiculous 
excess of a mad obstinacy goes so far as to oppose to me 
a little girl ! I have continually to listen to a rash judg- 
ment between her features and mine ; and from the height 
of the Heavens in which I shine, I have to hear prejudiced 
mortals exclaim : She is more beauteous than Venus ! 

^Eo. That is how people do ; it is men's style ; they are 
impertinent in their comparisons. 

PH. In the age in which we live now, they cannot praise 
without at the same time outraging some of the greatest 

VEN. Ah ! how well the insolent sternness of these three 
words avenge Juno and Pallas, and consoles their hearts 
for the brilliant glory which the famous apple conferred 
upon my charms ! I see them applauding themselves about 
my uneasiness, affecting at each moment a malicious laugh, 
and with a stare, searching out anxiously my confusion in 
my eyes. Their triumphant joy, in the midst of such an 
outrage, seems to come and tell me, as an insult to my 
anger : Boast, boast, Venus ! of the traits of your counte- 

5 This speech of Venus is an imitation of the one which the same god- 
des,s utters in Apuleius' Golden Ass. 

SCENK i.| PSYCHE. 291 

nance ! In the judgment of one only you vanquished us ; 
but, in the judgment of all, a simple mortal has the advan- 
tage over you. Ah ! this blow finishes me ; it pierces my 
heart ; I can no longer suffer this unparalleled severity ; 
the raptures of my rivals are, in addition to my poignant 
sorrow, too much. My son, if ever I had any influence 
with you, and if ever I were dear to you, if your heart be 
capable of feeling the resentment which troubles the heart 
of a mother who so tenderly loves you, then employ, em- 
ploy now the effort of your power to sustain my interests ; 
and, by your darts, make Psyche feel the darts of my re- 
venge. To make her heart miserable, take one of your 
darts most calculated to please me, the most poisonous of 
those which you launch forth in your anger. Make her 
become enamoured to madness of the vilest, basest, and 
most horrible mortal, so that she may suffer the most cruel 
torture of loving and not being beloved. 

CUP. Nothing but complaints about Cupid are heard in 
this world ; everywhere a thousand sins committed are 
imputed to me, and you would not believe the harm and 
the nonsense that are told of me every day. If to serve 
your anger . . . 

VEN. Go, do not oppose the wishes of your mother ; 
do not apply any arguments, except to look out for the 
most opportune moments to bring a sacrifice to my out- 
raged glory. Depart, for all response to my solicitations; 
and see me not again until I am avenged. 

Cupid flies away, and Venus retires with the Graces. The 
scene changes to a large town, with palaces and houses, of 
different architecture, on both sides of the stage. 



AGL. There are ills, sister, which silence embitters ; let 
us, therefore, give speech to your grief and mine, and lay 
bare the burning resentment of our hearts to each other. 
We are sisters in misfortune ; and yours and mine are so 
intimately connected, that we can mix the two into one, 

2Q2 PSYCHE. [ ACT t 

and, in our righteous indignation, bewail, in common 
plaint, the cruelties of our fate. What mysterious fatality, 
sister, subjects the whole universe to the charms of our 
youngest sister, and why, of the various princes whom 
accident brings to this spot, does it not throw one into 
our chains? What ! to see from every part all hearts 
eager to yield to her, and pass by our attractions without 
wishing to be stayed by them ! What fate has befallen 
our eyes, and what have they done to the gods, that they 
think them not worthy to enjoy any homage amidst all 
these tributes of glorious sighs, the proud advantage of 
which causes others to triumph ? Can there be for us, 
sister, a more signal disgrace than to see all hearts despise 
our charms, and to behold the happy Psyche insolently 
rejoicing in a crowd of lovers bound to her steps ! 

CYD. Ah ! sister, it is an adventure to make us lose our 
senses, and all the other ills of nature are nothing in com- 

AGL. As for me, it often brings the tears to my eyes. 
It takes away all pleasure, all rest ; against misfortune 
like this, my constancy is without arms. This grief, for 
ever present to my mind, keeps before my eyes the dis- 
grace of our charms, and the triumph of Psyche. At 
night, the thought of it is eternally recurring, and pre- 
vails over all else. Nothing can drive away this cruel 
image ; and no sooner comes sweet slumber to free me 
from it, than some dream immediately recalls it to my 
senses, and awakens me with a start. 

CYD. This is my martyrdom, sister; in your words I 
see myself; and you have just said what passes within me. 

AGL. But once more, let us argue a little upon this af- 
fair. In what lies her powerful charms ? And by what, 
tell me, has she acquired the honour of that grand secret 
of pleasing by her slightest looks ? What do they see in 
her to inspire so much passion? What right of beauty 
gives her the empire over all hearts? She has some 
charms, some of the brilliancy of youth ; we are agreed 
upon that ; I do not gainsay it. But if we concede to 
her a great deal on the score of age, are we entirely with- 
out charms ? Are our figures such as to be sneered at ? 
Have we not some fine features and some attractions, com- 


plexions, eyes, air, and build to fasten some lovers in our 
chains. Sister, do me the favour of speaking frankly. 
Am I made in such a manner, tell me, that my merit 
should give way to hers ? And do you find that she out- 
shines me in dress ? 

CYD. What ? you, sister. Not at all. Yesterday, at 
the hunt, near her, I looked at you for a long time, and, 
without wishing to flatter you, I thought that you were by 
fir the handsomer. But I say, sister, without wishing to 
flatter me, are they visions which I take into my head, 
when I think myself made to merit the glory of some con- 

AGL. You, sister, you have, without disguising aught, 
everything to inspire an amorous flame. Your slightest 
actions shine with charms which touch my heart, and were 
I other than woman, I should be your lover. 

CYD. Whence comes it, then, that she obtains the vic- 
tory over us ; that at the first glance all hearts lay down 
their arms, and that by no tribute of sighs and vows the 
least honour is paid to our charms? 

AGL. All ladies, with one voice, think very little of her 
attractions: and I think, sister, that I have discovered the 
cause of the number of lovers whom she holds beneath her 

CVD. As for me, I guess it ; and it is to be presumed 
that some mystery must be concealed underneath this. 
This secret of inflaming everybody is not a common effect of 
nature ; the art of Thessalia has something to do with 
this ; 6 and no doubt, some charm has been given to her to 
mike herself beloved. 

AGL. My belief is founded upon a more solid basis; 
and the charm which she possesses for gaining all hearts 
is simply an air at all times devoid of sternness, caressing 
looks seconded by her mouth, a smile full of sweetness, 
which holds out a welcome to everyone, and which prom- 
ises you nothing but kindness. Our glory now-a-days is 
no longer kept up ; and we are no longer in the age of 
that noble haughtiness, which, by a dignified attempt at 
illustrious cruelties, wished to test the constancy of a 

Thessalia was renowned in classical times for its magicians. 

294 PSYCHE. [ACT t 

lover. We have, indeed, come down, in the present age, 
from all this noble pride which suited us so well ; and, 
unless we absolutely throw ourselves at men's heads, we 
are reduced to hope no longer for anything. 7 

CYD. Yes, that is the secret of the affair ; and I see that 
you .understand the matter better than I. It is because 
we keep too much to our decorum that no lover wishes to 
come to us, sister ; we are too anxious to maintain the 
honour of our sex and of our birth. Men now-a-days love 
those who smile upon them ; hope, more than love, is 
what attracts them ; and it is through this that Psyche 
robs us of all the lovers whom we see beneath her empire. 
Let us follow, let us follow the example, and accommo- 
date ourselves to the times ; let us lower ourselves, sister, 
to make advances, and care no longer about that sad pro- 
priety which deprives us of the fruits of our best years. 

AGL. I approve of the idea, and we have the material 
on which to make the first trial, in the two princes who 
have recently arrived. They are charming, sister; and 
altogether their appearance has . . . Have you noticed 

CYD. Ah ! sister, they have both an air which my heart. 
.... They are two perfect princes. 

AGL. I think that one might try to win their affection 
without having need to be ashamed. 

CYD. I think that a fair princess might, without shame, 
yield them her heart. 

AGL. Here they are both, and I admire their air and 
their appearance. 

CYD. They in no way belie what we have just said. 


AGL. Whence comes it, princes, whence comes it, that 
you run away thus ? Have you taken fright in seeing us 
appear ? 

CLE. We were given to understand, Madam, that the 
princess Psyche might be here. 

7 This speech of Aglaura, says Petitot, one of the commentators of 
Moliere, is a proof that the manners of the age had, perhaps, undergone 
a great change since the first representation of The Pretentious Young 
Ladies (1659). 

SCENE ii.] PSYCHE. 295 

AGL. Have these spots no attraction fqr you, unless you 
see them adorned by her presence ? 

Ac. These spots may have many sweet charms ; but we 
are impatiently seeking Psyche. 

CYD. Something very pressing, no doubt, must make 
you both so anxiously seek for her ? 

CLE. The motive is sufficiently powerful, since, in one 
word, our whole happiness depends upon it 

AGL. It would be too much for us to inquire into the 
secret which these words may conceal. 

CLE. We do not pretend to make a mystery of it : in 
spite of us, it would soon be revealed ; and when a secret 
is connected with love, it does not last long, Madam. 

CYD. Without going any farther, princes, this means, 
that you both love Psyche ? 

AG. Both subject to her sway, we are going, in concert, 
to declare our passion to her. 

AGL. It is a novelty, no doubt, sufficiently strange, to 
find two rivals so closely united 

CLE. It is true that the thing is rare, but not alto- 
gether impossible to two trusty friends. 

CYD. Is there no fair one except her in these spots, and 
can you not divide your affections? 

AGL. Among those of noble blood have you seen none 
but her, who might be deserving of your passion ? 

CLE. Does one argue at the moment one becomes 
smitten ? Do we choose those whom we would love ? And 
do we look what right the one to whom we give all our 
soul has to charm us ? 

AG. Without the power to select, one follows, in such 
an ardour, something which attracts us; and when love 
touches a heart, there are no reasons to give. 

AGL. In truth, I pity the sad confusion into which 
I see that your hearts are rushing. You love one whose 
provoking charms will mix some grief with the hope which 
they excite in you ; and her heart will not perform all 
that her eyes may promise you. 

CYD. The hope which now calls you into the ranks of 
her lovers will find some disappointment in the gentleness 
which she displays ; and the sudden changes of her unequal 
temper are calculated to bring some very sad moments. 

296 PSYCHE. [ACT i. 

AGL. A clear discernment of your worth makes us pity 
the fate to which this passion leads you; and you might 
both find, if you wished it, a more stable heart, with as 
many attractions. 

CYD. By a choice much sweeter by half, you might 
save your friendship from the clutches of love; and 
such rare merit is found in you, that a tender counsel 
would fain prevent, out of pity, what your heart prepares 
for itself. 

CLE. This generous advice shows a kindness for us 
which touches our hearts. But Heaven, Madam, has re- 
duced us to the misfortune of not being able to profit 
by it. 

Ac. Your distinguished pity tries in vain to divert us 
from a passion of which we both fear the effect ; but what 
our friendship has been unable to accomplish, Madam, 
nothing can accomplish it. 

CYD. The power of Psyche must be ... Here she 


CYD. Come, sister, to enjoy what is being prepared for 

AGL. Let your charms hold themselves in readiness to 
receive here the new triumph of an illustrious conquest. 

CYD. These princes have both so thoroughly felt your 
darts, that their lips are ready to acquaint you with it. 

Ps. I did not think myself the cause of their stay 
amongst us ; and I should have believed quite another 
thing in seeing them speak to you. 

AGL. Having neither beauty nor birth to deserve their 
affection and attention, they have at least favoured us 
with the honour of their confidence. 

CLE. {To Psyche). The confession we are about to 
make, Madam, to your divine charms is, no doubt, a rash 
avowal ; but so many hearts, near death, are obliged, by 
similar declarations, to incur your displeasure, that you 
are compelled not to punish them with the bolts of your 
anger. You behold in us two friends, which a sweet sym- 
pathy of disposition has united from infancy ; and these 

SCKNB in.] PSYCHE. 297 

tender bonds have been more closely tightened by a hun- 
dred rivalries of esteem and gratitude. The rigorous 
assaults of hostile fate, the contempt for death, and the 
sight of tortures, have, by the distinguished instances of 
reciprocal services, consolidated the splendid ties of our 
friendship. But, whatever trials it may have undergone, 
its greatest triumph is in this day ; and nothing could 
more plainly show its proved constancy, than to see it 
preserved in the midst of love. Yes, notwithstanding so 
many charms, its signal constancy has submitted all our 
desires to the laws which it imposes upon us ; and now it 
comes, with a gentle and complete deference, to refer the 
success of our passion to your choice ; and, to give a 
greater weight to our rivalry, which, for reasons of state, 
might make the scale incline to the choice of one of us, 
this same friendship offers, without any repugnance, to 
unite our two states with the fate of the most fortunate 

AG. Yes, of these two states, Madam, which we offer to 
unite according to your choice, we wish to make a support 
to our love in order to obtain you. That, for this happi- 
ness, we should both sacrifice ourselves with the king, your 
father, has nothing difficult for our amorous hearts ; and 
it is simply making a necessary gift to the most fortunate 
one, of a power for which the unhappy one, Madam, will 
no longer have any use. 

Ps. The choice which you offer me, princes, is sufficient 
to satisfy the desires of the proudest heart ; and you both 
adorn it in such a manner, that nothing more precious 
could be offered. Your love, your friendship, your su- 
preme virtue, everything enhances with me the offer of 
your heart ; and I see a merit in it, which itself opposes 
what you wish of me. It is not to my own heart that I 
must defer, to enter into such bond ; my hand, for its be- 
stowal, awaits the commands of a father, and my sisters 
have claims which go before mine. But, if I were left to 
my own absolute desires, you might both at the same time 
have too great a share in them ; and the whole of my 
esteem, balanced between you, could not determine upon 
selecting either of you. I could well enough respond to 
the ardour of your suit by my gentlest affection ; but, 

298 PSYCHE. [ACT i. 

amid so much merit, two hearts are too much for me 
alone, one heart between you two is not enough. I should 
be embarrassed in my fondest wishes by the sacrifice which 
your friendship makes ; and by seeing with too much pity 
the fate to which the other was drifting. Yes, princes, 
of all those whose love has followed your example, I should 
eagerly prefer you both; but I should never have the heart 
to be able to prefer one of you to the other. My tender- 
ness would make too great a sacrifice to him whom I 
should choose ; and in the wrong I should do the other, I 
would impute to myself the most barbarous injustice. Yes, 
you have both shown too much grandeur of soul to make 
one of you unhappy ; and you ought to seek in an amor- 
ous flame the means of being both happy. If your hearts 
consider me sufficiently worthy to allow me to dispose of 
you, I have two sisters capable of pleasing, who could 
well make your lot sufficiently happy ; and friendship 
renders their persons sufficiently dear to me to wish you 
their husbands. 

CLE. Can a heart whose love is so extreme, alas ! con- 
sent to be given away by her whom it loves ? We concede 
to your divine charms, Madam, a supreme power over our 
hearts ; dispose of them even for death ; but have the 
goodness not to dispose of them for any one else but for 

Ac. It would be too great an outrage on the princesses, 
Madam; and the remains of another flame are an un- 
worthy portion for their charms. It requires the constant 
purity of a first love to aspire to that honour to which 
your goodness invites us. Each one of them deserves a 
heart that has riot sighed except for her. 

AGL. It seems to me, without wishing to be angry, that 
before defending yourselves from this proposal, princes, 
you ought to have waited until people had explained them- 
selves about you. Think you that we have so easy and 
tender a heart ? And when there is question of giving 
you to us, do you know whether we are willing to take 
you? 8 

8 Compare Arsinoe's remarks in The Misanthrope, Act v., Scene 6, 
(see Vol. II.) ; and also those of Armande in The Blue Stockings, Act i, 
Scene 2. 


CYD. I think that we have sufficiently lofty sentiments 
to refuse a heart which has to be solicited ; and that we 
wish to owe the conquest of our lovers solely to our own 

Ps. I thought, sisters, that it would have been a suffi- 
ciently great glory for you, if the possession of so much 
merit . . . 


LY. ( To Psyche). Ah ! Madam ! 

Ps. What is the matter ? 

LY. The king . . . 

Ps. Well? 

LY. Requires your presence. 

Ps. What am I to expect from this great trouble ? 

LY. You shall know it but too soon. 

Ps. Alas ! you cause me to fear for the king ! 

LY. Fear only for yourself ; it is you who are to be 

Ps. Praise be to Heaven ; thus vanishes my fright to 
know that I have to fear but for myself. But tell me, 
Lycas, the reason of your emotion. 

LY. Allow me to obey him who sends me here, 
Madam ; it is better that you should learn from his lips 
that which grieves me so much. 

Ps. Well, let us go and learn in what they fear my 
feebleness so much. 


AGL. If your order does not extend to us, tell us what 
great misfortune your grief hides from us. 

LY. Alas! this great misfortune, already bruited about 
the court, behold it yourself, princess, in the oracle which 
the fates have rendered to the king. These are the very 
words, Madam, which grief has engraved on my heart : 9 
" Let there be no thought of wishing to conclude the 

9 This oracle is taken from Apuleius, and has a double meaning, be- 
cause all that is said about the monster may be emphatically applitd to 

300 PSYCHE. [ACT i. 

marriage of Psyche ; but let her be quickly conducted in 
sombre funeral state to the top of a mount ; and let her 
there, abandoned by all, wait constantly for her husband, 
a monster who poisons the sight, a serpent that spreads its 
venom all around, and in its rage troubles heaven and 
earth." After so severe a decree, I leave you to judge 
between yourselves if all the gods could, by more cruel or 
sensible strokes, have explained their displeasure more 


CYD. What do you feel, sister, at this sudden misfortune, 
into which we see Psyche plunged by rigorous fate? 

AGL. But you, yourself, what do you feel ? 

CYD. To tell no lie about it, I feel that, in my heart, I 
am not grieved at it. 

AGL. I feel something in my own which is not unlike 
joy. Come, destiny sends us an evil, which we may 
regard as a blessing. 


The scene is changed to horrible rocks, and shows a 
dreadful gaping cavern in the distance. This is the desert 
in which Psyche is to be exposed, to obey the oracle. A troop 
of afflicted people come to bewail her misfortune. A part of 
this afflicted troop show their pity by touching complaints and 
mournful songs; the others express their grief by a dance 
full of every mark of the most violent despair. 

Wailings in Italian, sung by an afflicted female, and 
two afflicted men. 

WOMAN. Mix your tears with mine, hard rocks, and you 
frightful tigers, bewail the severe fate of an object whose 
crime it is to possess too many charms. 

10 All the interludes are by Quinault, with the exception of this one, the 
words of which are by Lulli, the author of the whole of the music in this 
piece. It is possible that Moliere translated these words into French for 
the libretto of the Ballet des ballets, published in 1671. 

SCENE i.] PSYCHE. 301 

IST MAN. Alas! what grief ! 

2D. MAN. Alas ! what martyrdom. 

IST MAN. Cruel death ! 

20 MAN. Severe fate ! 

ALL THREE. To doom- to die such beauty ! ye Heavens ! 
ye stars ! what cruelty ! 

WOMAN. Answer to my complaints, deep caverns, hid- 
den rocks ! respond to my plaints, ye echoes of these 
woods ! May a mournful sound burst forth from the depth 
of these forests ! 

IST MAN. Alas ! what grief ! 

20 MAN. Alas ! what martyrdom ! 

IST MAN. Cruel death ! 

WOMAN AND 2D MAN. Severe fate ! 

ALL THREE. To doom to die such beauty ! ye Heavens ! 
ye stars ! what cruelty ! 

20 MAN. Who of you, ye gods, wishes to dectroy, with 
so much fury, such innocent beauty ! 1 iuless Heaven, 
will ye outdo hell in cruelty by such rancour? 

IST MAN. Inhuman cruelty ! 

20 MAN. Severe god ! 

THE Two MEN. Why so much severity against an inno- 
cent heart ? Unheard-of-sentence, to cut off suca beauti- 
ful days when they give birth to so much love ! 

WOMAN. How vain are useless tears, and superfluous 
cries, as a help against an irreparable ill ! When Heaven 
has given absolute commands, human effort must altoge- 
ther cease. 

Amidst these wailings eight afflicted persons enter, dance a 
ballet, and by their attitudes express their grief. 



Ps. The reason of your tears, my lord, is very dear to 
me; but it is giving way too much to your kindness 
towards me, to allow the tenderness of a father to pene- 
trate as far as the eyes of a great monarch. The tribute 

302 PSYCHE. [ACT ii. 

which we behold you to pay to nature, my lord, does too 
much injury to the rank which you hold ; and I must 
therefore decline to accept its touching favours. Let your 
grief take less empire over your wisdom ; and cease to 
honour my fate with tears, which, coming from the heart 
of a king, show weakness. 

KING. Ah ! daughter ! let my eyes indulge in tears. 
My mourning is reasonable even if it be extreme; and 
when one is about to lose for ever what I am losing, wis- 
dom itself, believe me, may weep. In vain the pride in- 
separable from the diadem enjoins us to be insensible to 
these cruel reverses ; in vain reason comes to our aid to 
command us to behold with dry eyes the death of those 
whom we love; the effort to do so is barbarous in the 
sight of the world, and is rather accounted brutality 
than supreme virtue. I will not, in this adversity, en- 
case my heart with insensibility, and hide the grief that 
moves me. I renounce the vanity of this fierce harshness, 
which is called firmness; and by whatever name is desig- 
nated this poignant grief of which I feel the smart, I will 
display it, daughter, to the eyes of all, and show in the 
heart of a king that of a man. 

Ps. I do not deserve this great grief. Oppose, oppose 
some resistance to the rights which it usurps in your 
heart, of which a thousand events have shown the power. 
What! are you to renounce for my sake, my lord, this 
royal constancy, of which you have shown such famous 
proofs, under the strokes of misfortune ! 

KING. Constancy is easy in a thousand cases. All the 
revolutions to which inhuman fate may expose us ; the 
loss of greatness, persecutions, poisonous envy, and the 
darts of hatred, having nothing which, if needs must, the 
resolves of a mind in which reason holds a somewhat 
sovereign sway, may not brave. But what makes our 
hearts succumb beneath some rigors, and the burden of 
bitter grief, are the harsh blows of those cruel destinies, 
which rob us for ever of those who are dear to us. 
Against such strokes, reason offers no available arms ; and 
these are the bolts most to be feared, which the angry 
gods can launch at us. 

Ps. My lord, a consolation still remains to you. Your 

SCKNB i.] PSYCHE. 303 

marriage has received more than one gift from the gods ; 
and, by a plainly shown favour, they deprive you of 
nothing, by taking me away from you, but what they have 
taken care to make good. There still remains to you 
wherewith to assuage your grief. This decree of Heaven, 
which you call cruel, leaves still to a father's affection the 
two princesses, my sisters, on whom to lavish all its 

KING. Ah ! faint relief to my ills ! Nothing, nothing 
offers itself to me which consoles me for your loss. My 
eyes see only my misfortunes ; and in a fate so dire, I 
look but to what I lose, and see not what remains to me. 

Ps. Better still than I, you know, my lord, that to the 
will of the gods we must submit our own ; and in this sad 
farewell I can but say to you, what you could so much 
better say to others. These gods are sovereign masters 
of the gifts which they deign to bestow upon us ; and leave 
them in our hands only as long as it pleases them. When 
they take them back again, we have no right to murmur 
at the favours which their hands will no longer bestow upon 
us. My lord, I am a gift which they granted to your af- 
fection ; and, when by this decree, they wish to take me 
back again, they deprive you of nothing but what you 
hold of them ; and you ought to yield me without a mur- 

KING. Ah ! seek a better foundation for the consolations 
which your heart offers to me ; and do not make a weapon 
of the fallacy of this argument, to overwhelm altogether 
this poignant grief, of which I suffer the torments. Think 
you in this to give me a powerful reason not to complain 
of the decree of Heaven ? And cannot you perceive a de- 
stroying sternness in the proceedings of the gods, with 
which you wish me to be satisfied ? Behold the condition 
in which these gods force me to yield you up, and then 
look at the one in which my wretched heart received you; 
by this you will know that they are about to take from me 
much more than what they gave me. I received from 
them in you, daughter, a gift which my heart did not ask 
from them; I found little attraction enough in it then, and 
saw them, without joy, increase my family. But my heart, 
as well as my eyes, have made a sweet habit of this gift ; 

304 PSYCHE. [ACT . 

it has taken me fifteen years of cares, of watching, and of 
study to render it precious to me ; I have clothed it with 
the amiable riches of a thousand brilliant virtues ; and, by 
assiduous cares, I have instilled into it the most beautiful 
treasures which wisdom could furnish ; I have attached to 
it all my soul's tenderness; I have made it the charm and 
the joy of my heart, the consol ation of my wearied senses, 
the sweet hope of my old age. They take all this from 
me, these gods ! And you wish me to have no cause of 
complaint about this horrible decree of which I suffer the 
blow ! Ah ! their power plays too rigorously with the 
tenderness of our hearts. To take away their gift, did 
they need to wait until I had made it my all-in-all? Or 
rather, if they had the design to take it back, would it not 
have been better never to have given me any thing? 

Ps. My lord, fear the anger of these gods against whom 
you dare to inveigh. 

KING. After this blow, what can they do to me? They 
have placed me in a condition no longer to fear aught. 

Ps. Ah ! my lord, I tremble at the crimes I cause you 
to commit ; and I ought to hate myself . . . 

KING. Let them at least allow my legitimate complaints; 
it is sufficient effort on my part to obey them ; let it be 
sufficient for them that my heart yields to the barbarous 
respect which we must have for them, without pretending 
to allay the grief with which the horrible decree of so stern 
a fate fills me. My just despair does not know how to re- 
strain itself. I will, I will indulge my grief for ever ; I 
will always feel the loss which I sustain ; of Heaven's stern- 
ness I will always complain ; I will, unto death, inces- 
santly bewail what the whole universe cannot make good 
to me. 

Ps. Ah! my lord, I beseech you, spare my weakness; 
I have need of fortitude in the state in which I am. Do 
not increase the excess of my grief by the tears of your 
tenderness. Alone they are severe enough, and my fate 
and your grief are too much for my he art. 

KING. Yes, I ought to spare you my inconsolable grief. 
Now is the fatal moment to tear myself from you ; but 
how can I pronounce this horrible word ? I must, how- 
ever; Heaven makes it my law ; relentless fate obliges me 

SCENE n-1 PSYCHE. 305 

to leave you in this ominous spot. Farewen ; i go . . . 
Farewell. 11 


Ps. Follow the king, sisters; you will dry his tears, and 
assuage his grief; and you would overwhelm him with 
alarm if you were to expose yourselves also to my misfor- 
tunes. Preserve for him what remains. The serpent 
which I expect might be fatal to you, include you in my 
lot, and deal me a second death-blow in you. Heaven 
has condemned me only to its poisonous breath ; nothing 
can succour me ; and I have no need of an example to die. 
AGL. Do not envy us this cruel advantage of uniting 
our tears with your sorrows, of mingling our sighs with 
your last sighs. Grant this last pledge of our tender 

Ps. It is risking yourself uselessly. 
CYD. It is to expect a miracle in your favour, or to ac- 
company you as far as the mount. 

Ps. What is there still to hope after such an oracle? 
AGL. An oracle is never without vagueness. The more 
one thinks to understand it, the less one does ; 12 and per- 
haps, after all, you ought to expect nought but glory and 
happiness from it. Suffer us, sister, to behold this mortal 
fear happily dispersed, by a favourable issue, or let us at 
least die with you, if Heaven shows itself relentless to our 

Ps. Rather listen to the voice of nature, sister, which 
calls you near the king. You love me too much ; duty 
murmurs at it ; you know its indispensable law. A father 
ought to be still dearer to you than I. Become both the 
supports of his old age ; you owe him each a son-in-law 
and nephews. A thousand kings vie with each other in 
reserving for you their tenderness ; a thousand kings vie 
with each other in offering you their love. The oracle 
claims me alone ; and alone also I will die, if I can, with- 
out flinching ; or not have you both as witnesses of that, 
which in spite of myself, nature has instilled into me. 

11 All that follows was written by Pierre Corneille, with the exception 
of the first Scene of the third Act, which is by M oliere. 

12 This sentence is from Corneille's Horace (iii. 3). 


306 PSYCHE. [ACT 11. 

AGL. To share your fate, is it to worry you? 

CYD. I dare say something more, sister, is it displeasing 
to you? 

Ps. No ; but in one word, it is embarrassing to me, and 
perhaps redoubling Heaven's anger. 

AGL. You will it so, and we depart, ivtay this 
same Heaven, more just and less severe, vouchsafe you the 
lot which we wish you, and which our sincere affection 
hopes for you in spite of the oracle, and notwithstanding 

Ps. Farewell. This hope, sister, and these wishes, none 
of the gods shall ever fulfil. 


At last, alone and left to myself, I can face the hideous 
change, which from the height of my extreme glory, pre- 
cipitates me down to the tomb. This glory was unparal- 
leled ; its fame spread from one pole to another ; every 
king seemed born to love me ; all their subjects, talcing 
me for their goddess, began to accustom me to the incense 
which they unceasingly offered to me ; their sighs pursued 
me everywhere, at no cost of mine ; my soul remained free 
while captivating many; and I, amidst so many vows, was 
queen of every heart, and mistress of mine own. O 
Heaven ! have you imputed this insensibility as a crime 
to me ? Do you display so much severity to me, for hav- 
ing rendered to their love nothing but esteem? If you 
imposed this law upon me to make a choice in order not 
to displease you, since I could not do so, why did you not 
do so for me ? Why did you not inspire me with that 
which, in so many others, is inspired by merit, love, and 
. . . But what do I behold here . 


CLE. Two friends, two rivals, whose only care is to ex- 
pose their lives to save yours. 

Ps. Can I listen to you, when I have driven two 
sisters hence ? Think you, princes, to defend me against 
Heaven ? To give yourselves up to the serpent which I 
must here await, this is a despair which ill becomes great 


hearts ; and to die because I die, is to overwhelm a loving 
soul which has but too many griefs. 

Ac. A serpent is not invincible ; Cadmus, who loved 
nothing, vanquished the one which Mars sent ; we love, 
and Cupid knows how to make everything possible to the 
heart that follows his standards, to the hand of which he 
himself guides all the darts. 

Ps. Would you have him serve you in favour of an un- 
grateful being whom all his arrows have not been able to 
touch ; to forego his revenge at the moment of its burst- 
ing forth, and help you to shield me from it ? Even if 
you shall have served me, when you have given me back 
my life, what recompense do you expect of one who can- 
not love? 

CLE. It is not with the hope of so charming a reward 
that we feel ourselves animated ; we seek but to satisfy the 
dictates of an affection which dares not presume that, 
whatever it may do, it can be capable of pleasing you, and 
worthy of inflaming you. Live, fair princess, and live 
for another ; we shall behold this with a jealous eye, we 
shall die of it, but of a death more sweet than if we had 
to see yours ; and, if we should not die in saving your 
life, whatever love you may prefer in our sight to ours, 
we would indeed die of grief and love. 

Ps. Live, princes, live, and think no longer to avert 
my fate or to share its decree. I believe I have told you, 
Heaven wants me only ; Heaven has condemned me only. 
I fancy I can hear already the destroying hisses of its 
minister that draws near; my terror depicts and shows 
him to me at every moment ; and overmastered, as it 
has, all my feelings, it figures him to me on the summit 
of this rock. I am falling with weakness, and my de- 
jected heart sustains with difficulty a last remnant of 
courage. Farewell, princes; fly, that it may not poison 

AG. Nothing has as yet shown itself to your eyes that 
surprises them ; and when you imagine your end so near, 
if your strength leaves you, we both have hearts and arms 
which hope has not abandoned. A rival may perhaps 
have dictated this oracle; gold may have influenced the 
one who rendered it. It would not be a miracle if a 

308 PSYCHE. [ ACT . 

human being had answered for a speechless god ; and, in 
every country we have but too many examples that there 
are, as elsewhere, wicked men in the temples. 

CLE. Let us oppose, to the base ravisher to whom sac- 
rilege delivers you unworthily, a love which Heaven has 
chosen as the champion of the only fair one for whom we 
desire to live. If we dare not presume to possess her, 
permit us, in her danger, at least to follow the dictates of 
our ardour and the duty of our passion. 

Ps. Carry them to my other selfs, 13 princes, carry them 
to my sisters, these duties, these extreme devotions with 
which your hearts are filled for me ; live for them, while I 
die ; bewail the dire rigour of my fate, without giving it 
new causes of grief in your behaviour. These are my last 
wishes ; and the commands of the dying have been, at all 
times, accepted as sovereign laws. 

CLE. Princess . . . 

Ps. Once more, princes, live for them. As long as you 
love me, you should obey. Do not reduce me to wishing 
to hate you, and to look upon you as rebels, through your 
very faithfulness to me. Go, leave me to die alone in this 
spot, where I find no longer a voice, except to bid you 
farewell ! But I feel that I am being lifted up, and the air 
opens a way for me, whence you shall no longer hear this 
dying voice. Farewell, princes; farewell for the last time. 
See whether you can any longer entertain a doubt about 
my fate. (Psche is lifted up into the air by two Zephyrs. 

AG. We are losing sight of her. Let us both go to 
seek on the height of this rock, the means, princes, of 
following her. 

CLE. Let us go and seek the means of not surviving 

SCENE V. CUPID, in the air. 14 

Go and die, rivals of a jealous god, whose anger you 
deserve for having had your hearts alive to the same 
charms. And you, Vulcan, cast a thousand brilliant orna- 

1J The original has cTautres moi-memes. 

14 This Cupid was probably played by a son of the actor La ThorilliSre. 
(See Introductory Notice to The Impromptu of Versailles, Vol. I.) In 
the following acts, Baron played this part. 

SCBNS i.] PSYCHE. 309 

ments wherewith to adorn a palace, in which Cupid shall 
dry Psyche's tears, and surrender his arms to her. 


The scene is changed to a magnificent court, adorned with 
columns of lapis lazuli, and enriched by golden figures, form- 
ing a gorgeous and dazzling palace which Cupid has prepared 
for Psyche. Six Cyclops, with four Fairies, perform an 
entry of a ballet, in which, keeping time to music, they finish 
four large silver vases, which the Fairies have brought. This 
entry is interrupted by the recital of Vulcan, which he re- 
peats twice. 

First Couplet. 

Make haste, prepare these spots for the most amiable of 
gods ; let every one be interested for him ; forget nothing 
of what is wanted. When Cupid presses, one cannot be 
too quick. 

Cupid does not like postponing ; work, make haste, 
strike ; increase your blows : let the desire of pleasing him 
make your labours of the sweetest. 

Second Couplet. 

Serve him well, this charming god ; he is pleased with 
great attention. Let every one be interested in him ; for- 
get nothing of what is wanted. When Cupid presses, one 
cannot be too quick. 

Cupid does not like postponing ; work, make haste, 
strike ; increase your blows. Let the desire of pleasing 
him make your labours of the sweetest. 



ZE. Yes, I think I have acquitted myself very gallantly 
of the commission which you have given me. From the 

15 It is most likely that Baron played Cupid in this and the following 
acts, otherwise the remarks of Zephyr about the great change in the ap- 
pearance of Love would be out of place. 


summit of the rock, I have brought this beauty, gently 
through mid-air, into this fair enchanted palace, where, 
in full liberty, you can dispose of her fate. But you sur- 
prise me, by the great change which you have made in 
your appearance ; this figure, these features, and this 
dress, altogether conceal who you are ; and I give it to 
the sharpest to recognize Cupid in you this day. 

CUP. Neither do I wish to be known ; my heart only I 
wish to reveal to Psyche, nothing but the beautiful trans- 
ports of this ardent passion with which her sweet charms 
have inspired it ; and, to express their amorous languor, 
and to conceal who I may be from the eyes of her who 
commands me, I have taken the form which you now be- 

ZE. You are a great master in everything ; it is by this 
that I recognize it. Beneath disguises of various natures, 
we have seen the love-sick gods endeavour to relieve the 
sweet wound which hearts receive from your fiery arrows ; 
but you have the superiority over them in good sense ; 
and this is just the very figure to command a happy 
success with the amiable sex, to whom we offer up our 
devotions. Yes, the assistance derived from the shape is 
very great ; and, apart from all rank or wit, whosoever 
finds the means of making such an appearance never sighs 
in vain. 

CUP. I have resolved, dear Zephyr, always to remain 
thus ; and no one will find anything to gainsay in that, to 
the eldest of all the love gods. It is time to leave off this 
long infancy which tries my patience ; it is time that 
henceforth I should become grown-up. 

ZE. Very good. You cannot do better ; the more so 
as you are entering upon an adventure which has nothing 
childish in it. 

CUP. This change will, no doubt, vex my mother. 

ZE. I anticipate some little anger at this. Although 
disputes about age should have no place among immor- 
tals, your mother, Venus, has in this the temper, of all fair 
ones, who do not like grown-up children. 16 But where I 

*' Apuleius makes Venus say, " Ought I not to be very happy to be 
crlled a grandmother in the flower of my age ?" 


think her most offended, is in the proceeding you are en- 
gaged in ; and it is avenging her strangely to love the 
fair one whom she wished to punish ! This hatred, to 
which it was her desire that the power of a son, whom 
even the gods fear, should lend itself . . . 

CUP. Let us leave this, Zephyr, and tell me if you do 
not think Psyche the fairest maid in the world ? Is there 
aught on earth, is there aught in the Heavens, that could 
dispute with her the glorious title of beauty without a 
rival ? But I see her, dear Zephyr, standing astonished 
at the splendour of this spot. 

ZE. You can show yourself, to finish her martyrdom, to 
disclose to her her glorious destiny, and to tell each other, 
between yourselves, all that sighs, lips, and eyes can con- 
vey. As a discreet confidant, I know what I have to do 
to interrupt an amorous interview. 17 


Where am I ? and in a spot which I imagined desolate; 
what skilful hand has built this palace, which art and 
nature have adorned with the rarest collection that the 
eyes may for ever go on admiring? Everything smiles, 
shines, and dazzles in these gardens, in these rooms, the 
splendid belongings of which contain nought but what 
enchants and pleases ; and in which, wherever my affrighted 
looks turn, I behold nought but gold and flowers 'neath my 
steps. Can Heaven have made this pile of marvels for the 
abode of a serpent;* And when, by their sight, it amuses 
and suspends the matchless cruelty of my relentless fate, 
does it wish to show its repentance thereat ? No, no ,* it 
is the blackest, the severest stroke of its hatred, so fruitful 
in cruelties, which, by a sternness fresh and without 
parallel, displays the choice it has made, of everything the 
most beautiful on earth, only for me to leave it with the 
greater regret. How ridiculous is my expectation, 18 if by 
this it thinks to assuage my grief! Each moment that my 
death is postponed is a fresh misfortune ; the longer it 

17 Moliere wrote this Act himself. 

18 What can Psyche's expectation be, unless, as Moland suggests, that 
she, after having upbraided Heaven with its cruelty, hopes for some alle- 
viation of her lot, some repentance of stern Fate. 

312 PSYCHE. [ ACT m. 

delays, the oftener I die. Do not make me languish any 
longer ; come to take your victim, your monster, who are 
to tear me asunder ! Am I to seek you, and am I to 
stimulate your fury to devour me? If Heaven will my 
death, if my life be a crime, then dare, in short, to seize 
upon the little life which remains to me. I am weary of 
murmuring against a legitimate punishment ; I am weary 
of sighing; come, so that I may finish, and die. 


CUP. Behold him, this serpent, this pitiless monster, 
which a wondrous oracle has prepared for you, and who 
may, perhaps, not be so horrible as you imagined him to 
yourself. 19 

Ps. You, my lord, can you be this monster with whom 
the oracle has threatened my sad days ; you, who rather 
seem a god who, by a miracle, has vouchsafed to come 
to my aid ! 

CUP. What need of aid in the midst of an empire in 
which everything that breathes awaits but your glances to 
submit to their laws, where you have to fear no other 
monster but me ? 

Ps. How little fear a monster like you inspires ! And 
if there be any poison, how little occasion one would 
have to venture upon the least complaint against a 
favourable attack of which every heart would fear the 
cure ! Scarce do I behold you, but my terrors cease, and 
let the image of my death vanish into air; and I feel 
rushing through my chilled veins an indefinable fire which 
I knew not before. I have felt esteem and good-will, 
friendship, gratitude ; innocent sorrows have caused me 
to feel the power of compassion : but I have never felt 
yet what I feel now. I know not what it is ; but I know 
that it delights me ; that I conceive not the slightest 
alarm at it. The more I fix my eyes on you, the more I 
feel myself charmed. All which I felt before did not 

19 As we have seen in the Introductory Notice to this play, Cupid is in- 
visible to Psyche in Apuleius' tale ; Moliere represents him as a young, 
handsome mortal, having left behind him his wings, his bow and arrows, 
bis torch, and all his god-like attributes. 

scwf*iix.J PSYCHE. 313 

produce the same effect ; and if I knew what it is to love, 
my lord, I would tell you that I love you. Do not turn 
from me those eyes which poison me, those tender, pierc- 
ing, but yet amorous eyes, which seem to share in the 
emotion which they evoke. Alas ! the more dangerous 
they are, the more pleased am I to gaze upon them. By 
what command of Heaven, which I cannot understand, 
do I say to you more than I ought ; I, whose modesty 
might at least have waited until you explained to me the 
trouble in which I see you? You sigh, my lord, as I 
sigh ; your senses appear stunned as well as mine. It is 
for me to keep silence, for you to tell me so ; and yet it 
is I who say it. 20 

CUP. You always had so hard a heart, Psyche, that you 
must not be surprised if, to repair the injury, Love, at 
this moment, repays himself with usury for what ought 
to have been given to him. The moment has come when 
your lips must breathe sighs so long repressed ; when, 
tearing you away from this sullen humour, a multitude of 
transports, as sweet as they are unknown, come all to- 
gether to touch your heart, as intensely as they ought to 
have done during the many fine days of which this un- 
feeling soul has profaned the flight. 

Ps. Is it then so great a crime not to love? 

CUP. Do not you suffer a great punishment from it ? 

Ps. It is punishing sweetly enough. 

CUP. It is choosing its legitimate penalty, and, on this 
glorious day, is rendering itself justice for a want of love, 
by an excess of love. 

Ps. Why have I not been punished sooner ? I place all 
the happiness of my life in it. I ought to blush at it, or 
say it more softly ; but the punishment has too many 

20 Tradition states that these beautiful lines, in which the passion of 
love is so well described, were written by Corneille, then sixty-five years 
old, and at that time enamoured of Madame Moliere, who represented 
Psyche. It further mentions that, a year later, he paid her fresh homage 
in putting some lines, about the power that Cupid possesses in the hearts 
of old men, into the mouth of Martian, in the tragedy of Pulcheria. It is 
difficult to say at the present time if Corneille was ever in love with Mo- 
liere's wife ; but Pulcheria was acted, not at the Palais-Royal, but at the 
Theatre du Marais, and the part of the heroine was played by Made- 
moiselle Dupin. 

3 14 PSYCHE. [ACT in. 

charms. Allow me that, aloud, I say it and re-say it ; I 
would say it a hundred times, and not blush at it. It is 
not I who speak ; and the astonishing empire, the gentle 
violence of your presence, take possession of my voice 
the moment I wish to speak. In vain my modesty is 
secretly offended by it, in vain my sex and propriety dare 
prescribe me other laws ; your eyes themselves choose my 
answer for me, and my lips, enslaved by their mighty 
power, consult me no longer about what I owe to myself. 

CUP. You may believe, fair Psyche, you may believe 
what they tell you, these eyes which have no jealousy ; let 
yours vie with them in informing me of all that passes 
within you. You may believe in this heart which sighs, 
and which, as long as yours will respond to it, will tell 
you more in one sigh than a hundred looks could tell. It 
is the sweetest, the strongest, and the surest language 
of all. 

Ps. The understanding was due to our hearts to make 
them equally satisfied. I have sighed, you have under- 
stood me ; you sigh, I understand you. But leave me no 
longer in doubt, my lord, and tell me, if, by the same 
route, Zephyr has conducted you hither after me, to tell 
me what I am now listening to. When I arrived, were 
you expected? And when you speak to him, are you 
obeyed ? 

CUP. In these sweet regions I bear sovereign sway, as 
you bear it over my heart ; Cupid protects me ; and it is 
for his sake that Eolus has placed Zephyr at my disposal. 
It is Cupid himself who, to see my devotions rewarded, 
has dictated this oracle, which, by threatening your charm- 
ing existence, has rid you of a crowd of lovers, and de- 
livered of the eternal obstacle of so many eager sighs, 
which were not worthy of being addressed to you. Do 
not ask me which is this province, nor the name of its 
prince : you shall know it when the time comes. I wish 
to win you ; but it is by my attentions, by assiduous care 
and constant devotion, by the amorous sacrifices of all 
that I am, of all that I can do, without the dazzle of my 
rank pleading for me, without making a merit of my 
power ; and, although I am sovereign in this happy spot, 
I will not owe you, Psyche, to anything but my love. 


Come, and admire its wonders, princess, and prepare your 
eyes and your ears for its delights. In it you shall behold 
woods and meadows contend by their charms with gold 
and precious stones ; you shall hear nothing but sweet 
concerts ; a hundred fair ones shall attend on you, who 
shall adore without envying, and shall sue at every mo- 
ment, with subjected and delighted souls, for the honour 
of your commands. 

Ps. My will does but wait upon yours. I could not 
have any other ; but, after all, your oracle separates me 
from two sisters and the king, my father, whom my 
imaginary death reduces, all three, to bewail me. To dissi- 
pate the error by which their bowed-down hearts find 
themselves filled with mortal grief, suffer my sisters to be 
witnesses of my glory and of your devotions. Lend them, 
as you have done to me, the wings of Zephyr, which may 
facilitate, as they have done to me, access to your empire. 
Show them in what spot I breathe; make them admire 
the success of my loss. 

CUP. You do not yield all your heart up to me, Psyche ; 
this tender recollection of a father and two sisters robs me 
in part of the sweets which I claim all in all for my 
passion. Have no eyes but for me, who have none but for 
you; think of nought but of loving me, think of nought 
but of pleasing me ; and, when such cares venture to dis- 
tract you . . . 

Ps. Can one be jealous of the affections of relatives ? 

CUP. I am so, my Psyche ; I am so of all nature. The 
sun's rays kiss you too frequently ; your tresses have too 
much of the dallyings of the wind ; the moment it toys 
with them, I murmur at it. Even the air which you 
breathe with too much pleasure passes between your lips : 
Your dress encircles you too closely ; and when you sigh, 
I know not what makes me uneasy and fear, amongst 
your sighs, some errant ones. But you wish for your sisters; 
go, depart, Zephyr; Psyche wills it, I cannot refuse it. 21 

CUP. When you shall show them this h^npy dwelling, 

n This passages is imitated from Theophile de Viau's tragedy of Pyra* 
mus and Thisbe (Act iv., Scene ij, played in 1621. 

3l6 PSYCHE. r ACT m 

make them a hundred gifts from amo g these treasures. 
Lavish caresses upon caresses on them ; and exhaust the 
tenderness of relationship if you can, to abandon yourself 
afterwards entirely to my love. I shall not intrude my 
unwelcome presence. But do not give them too long inter- 
views: whatever amiability you have for them must be 
robbed from mine. 

Ps. Your love grants me a grace which I shall never 

CUP. Let us, meanwhile, go and see these gardens, this 
palace, in which you shall see nothing but what will pale 
before your own brilliancy. And you, little Loves, and 
you, young Zepyhrs, who have no souls 22 but tender sighs, 
now vie with each other in showing what you feel in be- 
holding my princess. 


An entry of the ballet of four Cupids, and four Zephyrs, 
twice interrupted by a dialogue, sung by a Cupid and a 


ZE. Amiable youth, follow tenderness; join to fine 
days the sweets of love. It is to surprise you, that they 
tell you, that you should avoid their sighs, and fear their 
desires. Allow them to teach you what their pleasures 

TOGETHER. Everyone is bound to love in his turn ; and 
the more charms one possesses, the more one owes to 

ZE. A young and tender heart is made to surrender ; 
it will not avail to turn away from it. 

TOGETHER. Every one is bound to love in his turn ; 

M Here presents itself a trifling difficulty in the translation. The ori- 
ginal copy of Psyche, vhich I have consulted, has ames, ~ ..-is, without the 
circumflex accent; so ' Lemerre, in the faithful reprint o r the first edi- 
tion of Moliere's plays ; Moland has antes. But Taschereau : 1 Lou- 
andre, in their editions of our author, have armes, arms, which seems to 
me to make better sense. However, I have followed the original copy. 

SCENE 1. 1 PSYCHE. 317 

and the more charms one possesses, the more one owes to 

CUP. Why defend one's self? What boots it to delay? 
One day lost, is lost without retrieve. 

TOGETHER. Every one is bound to love in his turn ; 
and the more charms one possesses, the more one owes to 


ZE. Love has his charms. Let us yield him our arms. 
His cares and his tears are not without sweets. To follow 
him, a heart abandons itself to a hundred ills. To taste 
his pleasures, one must suffer almost death. But not to 
love, is not to live. 

TOGETHER. If love entails so many cares and griefs, 
one happy moment repays a thousand ills. 

ZE. There is fear, there is hope ; there is mystery 
needed; but nothing good is ever obtained without 

TOGETHER. If love entails so many cares and griefs, one 
happy moment repays a thousand ills. 

CUP. What can be better than to love and to please ? 
It is a charming care, a lover's task. 

TOGETHER. If love entails so many cares and griefs, one 
happy moment repays a thousand ills. 


The scene changes to another magnificent palace, inter- 
sected at the back by a vestibule, across which is seen a 
charming and magnificent garden, decorat.J with several 
vases, with orange ^::d other trees, laden wit?; all kinds of 


ACL. It is inc.-dible, sister, I have beheld too many 
marvels ; futurity will have a great difficulty in conceiv- 
ing fhem ; the sun who sees all, and who shows us all, 
has never seen the like. They vex my mind ; this bril- 

33 Aglaura's speech is imitated from Apuleius. 

318 PSYCHE. IACT nr. 

liant palace, this pompous train, are so much odious dis- 
play, which fills me with shame as much as with vexation. 
How niggardly Fortune treats us, and how blindly, in 
her indiscreet prodigality, she lavishes, nay, exhausts, 
combines all her efforts to heap together so many treasures 
for the share of a younger sister ! 

CYD. I enter into all your feelings ; I have similar vex- 
ations ; and everything that displeases you in this charm- 
ing spot wounds me also ; all that you take as a mortal 
insult overwhelms me, as it does you, and leaves me with 
bitterness in the heart and a blush on the brow. 

AGL. No, sister, there are no queens who, in their own 
state, speak as sovereigns, as Psyche speaks in these re- 
gions ; with promptitude she is obeyed, and an amorous 
studiousness fathoms her desires from her very eyes. A 
thousand fair ones press around her, and to our jealous 
glances seem to say: Whatever our attractions may be, 
she is still more beautiful, and we who serve her, are yet 
more fair than you. She pronounces, they execute ; no 
one gainsays, no one cavils. Flora, who attends her 
every step, strews with lavish hands around her her sweet- 
est gifts. Zephyr flies at the commands which she gives ; 
and his mistress and he, enchanted by her charms, forget 
to love each other in their eagerness to wait upon her. 

CYD. She has gods in her service ; soon she will have 
altars ; and we command but paltry mortals, whose auda- 
city and caprice, revolting secretly each moment against 
us, oppose murmurs or artifice to our desires. 

AGL. It was little that at our court all hearts, vicing 
with each other, would have preferred her to us ; it was 
not enough that, night and day, she should be idolized 
there by a host of lovers ; when we were consoling our- 
selves to see her in her grave by the unforeseen decree of 
the oracle, she wishes to display the miracle of her fresh 
destiny to our very faco, and to choose our eyes to witness 
that which we de3i'rJ -,;ke least. 24 

CYD. What vexes r-te most, is this lover so perfect and 
so worthy to please, *rho is captive beneath her sway. If 
we could choose amongst all the monarchs, is there one, 

M This, again, is taken from Apuleius. 


from among so many kings, who bears such marks of 
nobleness? To find one's self favoured beyond one's 
wishes, is often nothing but a happiness which makes 
one wretched ; there are no pompous trains nor superb 
palaces but what leave some door open to incurable evils, 
but to have a lover of consummate worth, and to see 
one's self dearly beloved by him, is a happiness so great, 
so elevated, that its grandeur cannot be expressed. 

AGL. Let us speak no longer of it, sister, we should die 
with vexation. Let us rather think about revenge, and 
let us find the means of breaking this adorable under- 
standing between him and her. Here she comes. I have 
some blows ready to strike her with, which she will with 
difficulty avoid. 


Ps. I have come to say farewell to you ; my lover sends 
you back, and is no longer able to endure that you should 
debar him for one moment from the joy which he takes 
in seeing himself the only one to attend upon me. In a 
simple glance, in the least word, his love finds charms of 
which I am robbing him, in favour of my own blood, in 
bestowing them on my sisters. 

AGL. The jealousy is sufficiently fine drawn ; and these 
delicate feelings well deserve the idea that he who has 
so much warmth for you, surpasses the ordinary run of 
lovers. I speak to you thus, for want of knowing him. 
You do not know his name, nor those who gave him 
birth : our minds are alarmed at it. I hold him to be a 
great prince, and of a supreme power, far above that of 
the diadem ; his treasures, lavishly strewn beneath your 
steps, are such as to make abundance itself ashamed ; you 
] jve him as much as he loves you ; he charms you, and 
you charm him ; your happiness would be extreme, sister, 
if you knew whom you loved. 

Ps. What does it matter to me? I am beloved by him. 
The more he sees me, the more I please him. There are 
no pleasures that could delight the heart but what antici- 
pate my wishes ; and I do not see how yours need be 
alarmed, when everything serves me in this palace. 

AGL. What matters it that everything serves you here, 

320 PSYCHE. [ACT iv. 

if this lover for ever conceals from you who he is ? We 
are alarmed only in your interest. In vain everything 
smiles upon you, in vain everything pleases you here, true 
love conceals nothing ; and he who persists in hiding him- 
self feels something within with which he might be re- 
proached. If this lover should become fickle, for often in 
love variety is sufficiently sweet ; and I make bold to say 
it between ourselves, for great as is the brilliancy with 
which these features shine, there may be others elsewhere 
as beautiful as you ; if, I say another object should draw 
him beneath another sway ; if, in the position I see you, 
alone in his hands, and defenceless, he resorts to violence, 
on whom is the king to avenge you for this change, or for 
this insolence? 

Ps. Sister, you make me shudder. Just Heaven ! could 
I be unfortunate enough . . 

CVD. Who knows but what the bonds of Hymen may 
already . . . 

Ps. Proceed not ; it would kill me. 

AGL. I have but one word more to say to you. This 
prince who loves you, and who commands the winds, who 
gives us the wings of Zephyr as a car, and with fresh plea- 
sures loads you every moment, mixes perhaps with all his 
love a little of imposture, when he to your eyes breaks the 
order of nature ; perhaps this palace is nothing but an 
illusion, and these gilded wainscoatings, this heap of riches, 
with which he buys your tenderness, may vanish in a mo- 
ment, when he shall have become tired of your caresses. 
You know as well as we what may be done by magic. 

Ps. What cruel alarms I feel in my turn ! 

AGL. Our friendship looks but to your good ! 

Ps. Farewell, sisters ; let us finish the conversation. I 
love, and I fear that he may become impatient. Now go ; 
and to-morrow, if I can, you shall see me more happy, 01 
more overwhelmed by the mortal grief. 

AGL. We will tell the king what fresh glory, what excess 
of happiness is being showered upon you. 

CYD. We will relate to him the surprising and marvel- 
lous history of so sweet a change. 

Ps. Do not make him uneasy, sister, by your suspicions; 
and when you depict to him so charming an empire . . . 


AGL. We both know well enough what to withhold or 
what to tell, and have no need of any lessons on that 

(Zephyr carries the two sisters of Psyche away in a 
cloud, which comes down to the earth, and in 
which he bears them rapidly away.) 


CUP. At last you are alone, and I can tell you again, 
without having your two importunate sisters for witnesses, 
what sway these lovely eyes have gained over me, and 
what excess there is in the joys inspired by sincere affec- 
tion, the moment it joins two hearts. I can explain to 
you the love-sick ardour of my ravished soul, and swear 
to you that, subjected to you alone, it has no other aim 
in its delights than to see this ardour met by a similar 
ardour ; to conceive no other wish than to mould my de- 
votions to your desires, and to take all my pleasures in 
whatever pleases you. But how comes it that a sombre 
cloud seems to dim the lustre of these beautiful eyes? Is 
there aught you wish for in these spots ? Do you disdain 
the homage of the devotion offered to you here ? 

Ps. No, my lord. 

CUP. What is it then ? and whence comes my misfor- 
tune? I hear fewer sighs of love than of grief; I perceive 
the faded roses in your complexion mark a secret sorrow ; 
hardly are your sisters gone, than you sigh with regret. 
Ah ! Psyche, when the passion of two hearts is the same, 
have they different sighs? And when one loves sin- 
cerely, and beholds what one loves, can one think of re- 

Ps. It is not that which afflicts me. 

CUP. Is it the absence of a rival, and of a beloved rival > 
which causes me to be neglected? 

Ps. How little have you penetrated into a heart entirely 
yours ! I love you, my lord, and my heart is annoyed at 
the unworthy suspicion which you have formed. You do- 
not know your own worth, if you fear not to be beloved. 
I love you ; and since I first saw the light, I have shown 
myself proud enough to disdain the devotion of more than 
one king. And, if I am to open my whole heart to you, 


322 PSYCHE. [ACT nr. 

I have found no one but you who was worthy of me. Ne- 
vertheless I have some grief which in vain I would conceal 
from you; a carking care mixes with all my affection, from 
which I cannot separate it. Do not ask me the cause : 
perhaps, knowing it, you would punish me for it ; and if 
I still dare to aspire to any thing, I am at least sure not to 
incur it. 

CUP. What ! are you not afraid that I, in my turn, shall 
be annoyed that you so little know your worth; or do you 
pretend not to know how absolute your sway is over me ? 
Ah ! if you doubt it, be undeceived. Speak ! 

Ps. I shall have the affront of seeing myself refused. 

CUP. Think better of me; the trial is easy. Speak, 
everything holds itself in readiness for your commands. 
If, to believe me, you require oaths, I swear by your lovely 
eyes, those masters of my soul, those divine authors of my 
love ; and if it be not enough to swear by your lovely 
eyes, I swear by the Styx, as the gods swear. 

Ps. I dare to fear a little less, after this assurance. My 
lord, I here behold pomp and abundance ; I adore you, 
and you love me ; my heart is delighted at it, my senses 
charmed by it; but, amidst this supreme happiness, I have 
the misfortune not to know whom I love: dissipate this 
ignorance, and allow me to know so perfect a lover. 

CUP. Psyche, what have you said ? 

Ps. That this is the happiness to which I aspire : and 
if you do not grant it to me . . . 

CUP. I have sworn it, I am no longer the master of it: 
but you do not know what you ask. Let me keep my se- 
cret. If I make myself known, I lose you, and you lose 
me. The sole remedy is to retract it. 

Ps. Is that my sovereign sway over you ? 

CUP. You are all-powerful, and I am entirely yours. 
But if our flame seems sweet to you, do not place an ob- 
stacle to its charming continuation ; do not force me to 
flight ; that is the least misfortune that could result to us 
from the wish that has seduced you. 

Ps. My lord, you wish to test me ; but I know what I 
ought to believe. Pray, inform me of the whole extent 
of my glory, and do not conceal from me for what illus- 
trious choice I have rejected the devotion of so many kings. 

SCENE iv.] PSYCHE. 323 

CUP. Do you wish it ? 
Ps. Let me beseech you. 

CUP. If you knew, Psyche, the cruel destiny you draw 
upon yourself by this . . . 

Ps. You render me desperate, my lord. 
CUP. Reflect well upon it ; I can still keep silent. 
Ps. Do you take oaths not to fulfil them ? 
CUP. Well then ! I am the god, the most powerful of the 
gods, absolute on earth, absolute in the Heavens ; on the 
waters, in the air, my power is supreme : in one word, I 
am Cupid himself, who with one of my own darts had 
wounded myself for you , K and, without the violence, alas ! 
which you have done to me, and which has just changed 
my love into anger, I should have become your husband. 
Your wishes are satisfied, you know now whom you have 
loved ; you know the lover whom you have charmed; be- 
hold, Psyche, what it has brought you to. You your- 
self force me to leave you ; you yourself force me to de- 
prive you of all the effect of your victory. Your lovely 
eyes may perhaps never behold me again. This palace, 
these gardens, disappearing with myself, will make your 
new-born glory vanish. You would not trust to me ; and 
as the fruit of your cleared-up doubts, Fate, beneath whom 
Heaven trembles, more mighty than my love, than all the 
gods together, shall show you her hatred, and drives me 

Cupid disappears ; and at the same moment that he 
flies away, the magnificent garden vanishes also. 
Psyche remains alone in the midst of a vast plain, 
and on the desolate banks of a great river, in which 
she wishes to throw herself. The river-god appears, 
seated on a mass of reeds and water plants, and 
leaning on a large urn, from which issues a thick 
jet of water. 

Ps. Cruel destiny, dire anxiety ! fatal curiosity ! Hor- 

18 This idea is from Apuleuis. The difference between the treatment of 
the fable of Psyche as put down by the Latin author and the French one, 
will be easily perceived. The opera, Psyche, which was given in 1678, fol- 
lowed the original classical idea (see Introductory Notice). 

324 PSYCHE. [ ACT lv . 

rible solitude ! what have you done with all my happi- 
ness ? I loved a god, I was adored by him ; my happi- 
ness increased at every moment, and I behold myself 
alone, all in tears, in the midst of a desert, where, to 
overwhelm me altogether, confused and despairing, I feel 
the love grow stronger, when I have lost the lover. The 
recollection of him charms and poisons me ; its sweetness 
tyrannizes over a wretched heart which my passion has 
condemned to the most poignant grief. Oh Heaven ! 
when Cupid abandons me, why does he leave me the love 
which he gave me ? Source of all good inexhaustible and 
pure, master of men and of gods, dear author of the ills 
which I endure, are you for ever vanished from my sight? 
I myself have banished you from it : in an excess of love, 
in an extreme happiness, my heart became disturbed by 
an unworthy suspicion. Ungrateful heart ! yours was a 
flame but badly kindled ; and one cannot wish, the mo- 
ment one loves, but what the cherished object also wishes. 
Let me die, it is the only thing left for me to do, after the 
loss which I have sustained. For whom, great gods ! could 
I wish to live? and for whom could I form desires? 
Stream, whose waters bathe these dreary sands, bury my 
crime in your waves, and to put an end to evils so de- 
plorable, let me insure my rest in your bed. 

THE GOD. Your death would sully my waters, 26 Psyche; 
Heaven forbids it you ; and perhaps after such profound 
grief, another fate awaits you. Flee rather from the im- 
placable anger of Venus : I see her coming to look for 
you and to punish you ; the love of the son has evoked 
the hatred of the mother. Fly, I shall know how to de- 
tain her. 

Ps. I am prepared for her avenging fury ; what could 
they have in store for me but what would be too sweet ? 
She who seeks death fears neither gods nor goddess, and 
may brave all their anger. 

VEN. Proud Psyche, you dare then await me, after hav- 
ing usurped my honours on earth ; after your seductive 

16 This idea is again borrowed from Apuleius, though the reason which 
the river-god gives for his refusal is different. 

SCKN* v.] PSYCHE. 325 

features have received the incense which ought to have 
been offered only to mine ? I have seen my temples de- 
serted, I have seen all mortals, seduced by your charms, 
idolize your sovereign beauty, offer you marks of respect 
undreamt of until then, and not at all considering that 
there was another Venus ; and after this I see you still 
bold enough not to fear your just punishments, and to 
look me in the face, as if my resentment were but a small 
matter ! 

Ps. If by some mortals I have been adored, is it a crime 
in me to have had charms with which their thoughtless 
souls allowed their eyes to be charmed which had not be- 
held you ? I am what Heaven has made me ; I have 
nothing but the beauties which it has been good enough 
to lend me. If the devotions that were offered to me ill 
satisfied you, you had but to present yourself to force all 
hearts to carry them back to you ; but to hide no longer 
from them this perfect beauty which, to bring them back 
to their duty, has but to show itself, to make itself adored. 

VEN. You ought to have defended yourself better. 
These marks of respect, this incense ought to have been 
refused; and the better to undeceive them, you ought, 
before their very eyes, to have given them up to me. 
You cherished the mistake for which you ought to have 
had nothing but horror ; you have done even more ; your 
arrogant humour, despising a thousand kings, has, in its 
extravagant ambition, carried its choice as far as Heaven. 

Ps. I have carried my choice as far as Heaven, god- 

VEN. Your insolence is matchless. To disdain all the 
kings on earth, is that not aspiring to the gods? 

Ps. If Cupid had hardened my heart for all of them, 
and reserved me entirely for himself, can I be blamed for 
that ? and must I see you to-day wishing to overwhelm me 
with eternal grief as the price of so sweet a passion? 

VEN. Psyche, you ought to have known better what you 
were, and who this god was. 

Ps. Has he given me the time and the opportunity, he 
who made himself master of my whole heart at the first 
moment ? 

VEN. Your whole heart allowed itself to be charmed by 

326 PSYCHE. fAcr , v . 

him, and you loved him the moment he said to you I 

Ps. Could I do otherwise than love the god who in- 
spires love, and who spoke to me for himself? He is 
your son : you know his power, you are acquainted with 
his worth. 

VEN. Yes, he is my son, but a son who annoys me, a 
son who badly renders me what he knows to be my due; 
a son who causes me to be abandoned, and who the better 
to flatter his unworthy amours, since you love him, no 
longer wounds any one who comes to implore my assist- 
ance at my shrines. You have made of him a rebel 
against me: I will be revenged, and signally, on you; 
and I shall teach you whether a mortal ought to allow a 
god to sigh at her knees. Follow me ; you shall see, to 
your cost, to what mad confidence in yourself this ambi- 
tion carried you. Come, and prepare yourself with as 
much patience as you have shown presumption. 


The scene represents the infernal regions. A sea of fire, 
the waves of which are in a perpetual state of agitation, is 
seen. This horrible sea is bordered by ruins in flames, and 
in the midst of the seething waves, through a frightful orifice, 
appears the infernal palace of Pluto. Eight furies come out 
of it, and form an entry of the ballet, in which they rejoice 
about the rage they have excited in the soul of the gentlest of 
all divinities. A sprite interferes with his perilous leaps in 
the dances, while Psyche, who has passed into the infernal 
regions by the orders of Venus, repasses, in the boat of Cha- 
ron, with the casket which she has received from Proserpine 
for the goddess. 

ST Between the fourth act and the fourth interlude, a certain time is sup- 
posed to have elapsed, during which Psyche has undergone the different 
trials to which Venus exposed her. She has now just acquitted herself of 
the last. See the Introductory Notice to this play. 

SCKN* i.] PSYCHE. 327 


SCENE I. PSYCHE, alone. 

Terrible windings of the infernal waves, black palaces, 
where Megaera and her sisters hold their court, eternal fires 
of light, amidst your Ixions, amidst your Tantaluses, 
amidst so many tortures, that know no intervals, are there, 
in your horrible dwelling, penalties equal to the labours to 
which Venus condemns my love ? There is no satiating 
her ; and since I have found myself subjected to her laws, 
since she has given me up to her resentment, I need, in 
these cruel moments, more than one soul, more than one 
life to fulfil her commands. I would suffer all with joy, 
if, amidst the rigours which her hatred displays, my eyes 
could behold again, were it but for one moment, that dear, 
that adorable lover. I dare not name him; my lips, too 
criminal by having required too much of him, have become 
unworthy of him; and in this cruel affliction, the most 
fatal suffering, with which an ever-recurring death over- 
whelms me at each moment, is that of not seeing him. 
If his anger were still to last, no misfortune would ever 
equal mine ; but if he took pity on a heart which adores 
him, whatever I had to suffer would be no suffering at all. 
Yes, ye Fates, if his just anger were but appeased, all my 
misfortunes would be at an end : to render me insensible 
to the fury of the mother, I need but one look of the son. 
I will no longer doubt it, he shares my sufferings ; he sees 
what I suffer, and he suffers with me. Whatever I endure 
pains him ; it becomes a law of love for him. In spite of 
Venus, in spite of my crime, it is he who supports me, it 
is he who reanimates me in the midst of the perils which 
they make me undergo; he preserves the affection with 
which his passion inspires him, and takes care to endow 
me with new life each time I must die. But what do these 
two shades want with me, whom I behold advancing 
towards me through the bad light of these gloomy regions? 


Ps. Cleomenes, Agenor, is it you whom I behold ? Who 
has deprived you of life? 

328 PSYCHE. [ACT T . 

CLE. The most righteous grief that could have furnished 
us with grounds for despairing; that funeral pomp, where 
you expected the utmost harshness of the most dismal fate, 
and the most signal injustice. 

Ac. On that very rock where Heaven in its anger pro- 
mised you, instead of a spouse, a serpent, which should 
suddenly devour you, we held ourselves in readiness to 
repulse its rage, or to die with you. You know it, princess ; 
and when you disappeared in mid-air from our sight, we 
both, carried away by love and grief, threw ourselves from 
the height of that rock, to follow your charms, or rather 
to taste the amorous joy of offering to the monster a first 
prey for you. 

CLE. Happily deceived in the meaning of the oracle, we 
have found out in this spot the miracle, and have known 
that the serpent ready to devour you was the god of love ; 
and who, though a god adoring you himself, could not 
endure that mortals like us should dare to adore you. 

Ac. As a reward for having followed you, we here taste 
a sufficiently pleasant death. What had we to do with 
life, if we could not belong to you? We here behold again 
your loveliness, which neither of us would have looked 
upon again above. Happy if we but see the slightest of 
your tears honour the misfortunes which you have caused 

Ps. Can I have any tears left, when misfortune has 
been carried to the highest degree? Let us unite our 
sighs in so dire a calamity ; sighs do not exhaust them- 
selves; but you princes, will sigh for an ungrateful 
creature. You did not wish to survive my miseries ; and 
whatever grief may overwhelm me, it is not for you that 
I die. 

CLE. Did we deserve it, we, whjse whole passion has 
but wearied you with the story of our sorrows ? 

Ps. You might have deserved, princes, my entire affec- 
tion, had you not been rivals. Those incomparable 
qualities which attended the addresses of the one and the 
other, rendered you both too amiable for either of you to 
be scorned. 

Ac. You might, without being unjust and cruel, have 
refused us a heart reserved for a god. But see Venus 


once more. Fate calls us back, and forces us to, bid you 

Ps. Does she not leave you time to tell me where, in 
these regions, you dwell ? 

CLE. In ever verdant groves, where one breathes by 
love, the moment one has died of love. By love one is 
born again there, with love one sighs there, beneath the 
gentlest laws of his happy sway ; and eternal night dares 
not drive away the day, with which he himself endows the 
phantoms which he j inspires, and of which he makes a 
court in the infernal regions themselves. 

Ac. Your envious sisters, descended after us to destroy 
you, have destroyed themselves ; and as a reward for a sug- 
gestion which cost them their lives, each, by turns, suffers 
by the side of Ixion, by the side of Tituos ; sometimes the 
wheel, and sometimes the vulture. Cupid, through the 
Zephyrs, took swift vengeance for their envenomed and 
jealous malice; these winged ministers of his righteous 
anger, under the pretext of conducting them once more to 
you, plunged them both to the bottom of a precipice, 28 
where the horrible spectacle of their torn bodies displays 
but the least and first punishment for these counsels, 
whereof the cunning causes the ills which you suffer. 

Ps. How I pity them ! 

CLE. You alone are to be pitied. But we have stayed 
too long to converse with you ; farewell. May we live in 
your remembrance ! May you soon have nothing more 
to fear ! May Cupid transport you shortly to the Heavens, 
place you there by the side of the gods, and kindling a 
love which cannot be extinguished, emancipate for ever 
the lustre of your beauteous eyes to increase the light of 
these regions ! 


Unhappy lovers ! Their passion still endures ! Though 
dead, they both still adore me ; me, whose severity so ill 
received their affections ! It is not so with you ; you who 
alone have charmed me, beloved, whom I love still a 

M In Apuleius the two sisters are punished by Psyche herself; but. 
nothing is said about their fate in the infernal regions. 

330 PSYCHE. [ ACT v . 

hundred times more than my life, and who break such 
beautiful bonds ! Flee no longer from me, and permit me 
to hope that one day you will cast your eyes on me ; that, 
by my sufferings I shall gain something to please you, 
something to recover your plighted faith. But what I have 
suffered has too much disfigured me to inspire me with 
such hopes. With eyes dejected, sad, despairing, languid, 
and faded, how can I prevail, if by some miracle, impos- 
sible to foresee, my beauty, which once pleased you, is not 
restored ? I have something here to restore it : this treasure 
of divine beauty, which Proserpine has placed in my hands 
to remit to Venus, must contain some charms of which 
I can take possession ; and the splendor of them must be 
extreme, since Venus, beauty herself, requires them to 
adorn herself. Would it be so great a crime to abstract a 
little from them ? To make myself pleasing in the eyes of 
a god who made himself my lover ; to regain his heart, 
and put an end to my torment; is not all this but too 
legitimate? Let me open it. What vapours dim my 
brain ? M And what do I behold coming out of this open 
box? Cupid, if your pity does not oppose my destruction, 
I descend to the grave, never again to revive. 

(She swoons. Cupid comes down to her, flying. 

SCENE IV. CUPID, PSYCHE, (in a swoon}. 

CUP. Your peril, Psyche, dispels my anger, or rather 
the ardour of my flame has not ceased ; and though you 
have displeased me in the highest degree, I have only in- 
terested myself against my mother's wrath. I have seen 
all your labours, I have followed all your misery, my sighs 
have everywhere accompanied your tears. Turn your eyes 
towards me ; I am still the same. What ! I say and re- 
peat aloud that I love you, and you do not say that 
you love me, Psyche ! Are your lovely eyes closed for 
ever? Is their brightness forever gone from them? O 
death ! could you launch so criminal a dart, and, without 
any respect for my eternal being, attempt my own life ! 
How many times, ungrateful deity, have I swelled your 

" This, again, is taken from Apuleius. La Fontaine, in his tale, makes 
come from the box a thick vapour, which makes Psyche look like an 
" Ethiopian woman." 

SCZNM v-1 PSYCHE. 331 

gloomy empire by the contempt or cruelty of a proud 
or stern fair one ? Even how many faithful lovers, if I 
must say so, have I sacrificed to you by excess of transports ! 
Go ! I will no longer wound souls, I will no longer pierce 
hearts but with darts dipped in the divine liquid with which 
immortal flames are nourished by Heaven ; and I will no 
longer launch any except to make, before your very eyes, 
so many gods of so many lovers. And you, relentless 
mother, who compelled death to snatch from me all that 
I held most dear to me, dread, in your turn, the effect of 
my anger. You wish to lay down the law to me, you, 
whom we so often see receive it from me; you, who have 
a heart as susceptible as any other, you envy mine the de- 
lights which your own enjoys ! But I shall pierce that 
self-same heart with strokes that shall be followed by noth- 
ing but jealous anxieties ; I shall overwhelm you with 
shameful surprises, and everywhere select, for your sweetest 
affection, Adonises and Anchiseses who will only hate 

SCENE V. VENUS, CUPID, PSYCHE, still in a swoon. 

VEN. The threat is respectful ; and the presumptuous 
anger of a child who rebels . . . 

CUP. I am no longer a child, and I have been too much 
so ', and my anger is as just as it is impetuous. 

VEN. Its impetuosity should be restrained ; and you 
might remember that you owe your being to me. 

CUP. And you ought not to forget that you have a heart 
and charms which depend on my power ; that my quiver 
is the sole support of yours ; that without my arrows it is 
nothing ; and that, if the bravest hearts have allowed 
themselves to be led in triumph by you, you have never 
made slaves but those whom it has pleased me to enchain. 
Boast then no more, about those rights of birth which 
tyrannize over my desires ; and if you do not wish to lose 
a thousand sighs, remember, when you see me, to be grate- 
ful ; you who hold through my power both your glory and 
your pleasures. 

VEN. How have you defended it, this glory of which 
you speak ? How have you rendered it to me ? And 
when you saw my altars desolate, my temples violated, my 

332 PSYCHE. fACT v 

honours disparaged, if you have sympathized with so much 
ignominy, how has the world seen Psyche punished, who 
robbed me of them? I commanded you to make her 
charmed with the vilest of all mortals, who should not 
deign to respond to her inflamed heart, but by eternal re- 
pulses, by the most cruel contempt ; and you yourself have 
loved her! You have seduced immortal beings to be 
against me ; it is for you that the Zephyrs hid her from 
my sight; that Apollo himself, suborned, by a skilfully, 
tuned oracle had so cleverly borne her away from me, that 
if her curiosity had not, by a blind mistrust, restored her 
to my vengeance, she would have escaped my irritated 
heart. Behold the condition to which your love has 
brought your Psyche ; her soul is about to depart ; see ; 
and if yours is still enamoured of her, receive her last sigh. 
Threaten, brave me, while she expires; so much insolence 
becomes you well; and I must endure whatever you please 
to say, I who can do nothing without your darts. 

CUP. You can do but too much, relentless goddess ! 
Fate abandons her entirely to your anger : but be less in- 
exorable to the prayers, to the tears of a son at your feet. 
It ought to be a sufficiently pleasant sight to you to behold 
with one eye Psyche dying, and with the other this son, 
with a supplicating voice, only wishing to owe his happi- 
ness to you. Give me back my Psyche, give her back all 
her charms ; give her back, goddess, to my tears ; give 
back to my love, give back to my grief, the charm of my 
eyes and the choice of my heart. 

VEN. With whatever love, Psyche may inspire you, do 
not expect to see an end to her misfortune through me. 
If Fate abandons her to me, I abandon her to her fate. 
Importune me no more ; and, in this adversity, let her, 
without Venus, triumph or perish. 

CUP. Alas ! if I importune you, I would not do so if I 
could die. 

VEN. This is no common grief that forces an immortal 
to wish for death. 

CUP. Perceive, by the excess of my passion, how strong 
it is. Will you extend no mercy to her ? 

VEE. I own your passion touches my heart ; it disarms me, 
it abates my rigour. Your Psyche shall see the light again. 


CUP. How I will make you everywhere adored ! 

VEN. Yes, you shall again behold her in her pristine 
beauty; but I claim the entire deference of your grateful 
vows ; I claim that an unfeigned respect shall leave my 
affection to choose you another spouse. 

CUP. And I, I do not require mercy any longer ; I re- 
sume all my boldness ; I desire Psyche, I desire her love ; 
I desire her to live again, and to live again for me ; and 
I am indifferent if your tired-out hatred satiate itself on 
another. Jupiter, who is appearing, will judge between 
us of my passionate behaviour, and of your anger. 

(After several flashes of lightning and claps of thunder, 
Jupiter appears in the air, on his eagle.) 

still in a swoon. 

CUP. You, to whom alone everything is possible, father 
of gods, sovereign of mortals, abate the sternness of an 
unbending mother, who, without me, would have no 
altars. I have wept, I have prayed, I sigh and threaten; 
but in vain are sighs and threats. She will not perceive 
that on my displeasure depends the happy or mournful 
aspect of the whole world; and that if Psyche loses her 
life, if Psyche does not belong to me, I am no longer 
Cupid. Yes, I shall destroy my bow, I shall break in 
pieces my arrows; I shall even quench my torch, and let 
Nature languish until it dies ; or, if I yet deign to pierce 
some hearts with these golden points which command obe- 
dience, I shall wound you all up there for mortal females, 
and shall aim none at them but blunted darts that force to 
hatred, and which will produce naught but rebels, in- 
grates, and cruel ones. * By what tyrannic law should I 
be bound to keep my weapons ever ready to serve you, 
and procure for you one conquest after another, if you 
forbid me to make one for myself? 

JUP. (To Venus). Daughter, be less severe to him: 
you hold the fate of his Psyche in your hands; the fatal 

80 The idea of the effects of the different arrows is found in Ovid's 
Metamorphoses, Book I. ; Voltaire has also employed it in his comedy of 
Nanine (Act i., Scene i). 

334 PSYCHE. A(n v 

mister, at your least word, will follow up your anger. 
Speak, and allow yourself to be overcome by a mother's 
tenderness, or dread an anger which I fear myself. Will 
you deliver up the world as a prey to hatred, disorder and 
confusion : and make a god of bitterness and strife of a god 
of union, of a god full of sweetness and of joy? Consider 
who we are, and if we ought to be swayed by passions. 
The more vengeance pleases men, the more it becomes 
the gods to pardon. 

VEN. I pardon this rebellious son ; but do you wish me 
to submit to the reproach that a miserable mortal, the ob- 
ject of my anger, the proud Psyche, because she is some- 
what handsome, should sully my alliance and the bed of 
my son by a marriage at which I blush? 

JUP. Well, then ! I will make her immortal, so as to 
render things equal. 

VEN. I have no longer hatred or contempt for her, and 
admit her to the honours of this conjugal bond. Psyche, 
come back to life, never to lose it again. Jupiter has 
made your peace : and I renounce that haughty disposi- 
tion which opposed your wishes. 

Ps. {Recovering from her swoon). It is then you, great 
goddess, who give life again to this innocent heart ! 

VEN. Jupiter has pardoned you, and my anger ceases. 
Live, Venus commands it ; love, she consents to it. 

Ps. (To Cupid). I see you again at last, dear object 
of my flame ! 

CUP. (To Psyche). You are mine at last, delight of my 

JUP. Come, lovers, ascend to Heaven, to consummate 
so distinguished and worthy a union. Come thither, 
lovely Psyche, to change your destiny. Come to take 
your place among the gods. 

Two large machines descend at the two sides of Jupiter, 
while he is speaking the last verses. Venus, with her attend- 
ants, mount into the one, Cupid and Psyche into the other, 
and they all go together up into the sky. 

The divinities, who had been divided between Venus and 
her son, unite, seeing them agreed; and all by concerts, 
songs, and dances, celebrate the nuptials of Cupid. Apollo 



appears the first, and as the god of harmony, commences to 
sing, to incite the other gods to rejoice. 

Recital of Afjllo. 

Let us unite, immortal troop ; the god of love becomes 
a happy lover, and Venus has regained her usual gentle- 
ness in favour of so charming a son. He is going to 
taste, after a long torment, a happiness which shall be 

All the divinities sing together the following verses in honour 
of Cupid. 

Let us celebrate this grand day, let us all celebrate so 
lovely a feast ; let our songs to all places spread the tid- 
ings; let them re-echo through the heavenly regions. Let 
us sing, and repeat by turns, that there is no heart so cruel 
but what sooner or later surrenders to Cupid. 

Apollo continues. 

The god who invites us to pay him his court, forbids us 
to be too wise. Pleasures have their turn : it is their 
sweetest use to finish the cares of day. Night is the in- 
heritance of pleasures and love. It would be a great pity 
that, in this charming spot, one should have a savage 
heart. Pleasures have their turn : it is their sweetest use 
to finish the cares of day. Night is the inheritance of 
pleasures and love. 

Two Muses, who have always avoided to enrol themselves 
under the laws of Cupid, counsel those fair ones, who have 
not loved yet, to defend themselves with great care from 
doing so, according to their example. 

Song of the Muses. 

Take care, severe fair ones, love causes too much trou- 
ble ; ever fear to allow yourself to be charmed too much. 
When one has to sigh with love, all the evil does not con- 
sist in becoming enamoured ; the martyrdom of saying it 
costs a hundred times more than to love. 

Second Couplet of the Muses. 
One cannot love without pains ; there are few sweet 


chains ; at every moment one feels alarmed. When one 
has to sigh with love, all the evil does not consist in be- 
coming enamoured ; the martyrdom of saying it costs a 
hundred times more than love. 

Bacchus proclaims that he is not so dangerous as Cupid. 

Song of Bacchus. 

If .at times, following our sweet laws, reason is lost or 
forgotten, the follies which wine causes begin and finish 
in one day ; but when a heart is drunk with love, it is 
often for the whole of life. 

Entry of the Ballet, 

Composed of two Menades and two ^Egyptians who at- 
tend upon Bacchus. 

Momus declares that he has no sweeter employment than 
to ridicule, and that it is Cupid only whom he dares not 

Recital of Momus. 

I seek to ridicule, on earth and in the heavens ; I sub- 
ject to my satire the greatest of the gods. There is no 
one in the universe but Cupid who abashes me. He is 
the only one whom I now-a-days spare. It is given only 
to him to spare no one. 

Entry of the Ballet, 

Composed offourpunchinelloes and two grotesque dancers, 
who attend upon Momus, and join their pleasantry and their 
gambols to the attractions of this grand entertainment. 

Bacchus and Momus, who conduct them, sing in their 
midst, each a song, Bacchus in praise of wine, and Momus 
a song lauding the subject and advantage of ridicule. 

Recital of Bacchus. 

Let us admire the juice of the grape : how powerful is 
it, what attractions has it ! It adds to the sweetness of 
peace, and in war it performs wonders : but above all in 
love wine is a great help. 


Recital of Momus. 

Let us gambol and divert ourselves. Let us jeer, we 
cannot do better ; ridicule is necessary in the sweetest 
games. Without the pleasure one finds in ridiculing, there 
are few pleasures without fatigue. Nothing is so pleasant 
as to laugh, when one laughs at the expense Oi others. 
Let us joke, let us spare nothing ; let us laugh, nothing is 
more in fashion^ one runs the risk of being a bore by say- 
ing too much good. Without the pleasure one tastes in 
ridiculing, there are few pleasures without fatigue. Nothing 
is so pleasant as to laugh when one laughs at the expense 
of others. 

Mars arrives on the stage, followed bv his troop of war- 
riors, whom he excites to profit by their leisure time in taking 
part in the recreations. 

Recital of Mars'. 

Let us leave the whole world in peace; let us seek for 
sweet amusements. Amongst the most charming games, 
let us mix the image of war. 

Entry of the Ballet. 

Follou>ers of Mars, who, dancing, execute with banners 
and standards a kind of evolution. 

Last Entry of the Ballet. 

The different troops of the attendants of Apollo, of Bacchus, 
of Momus, of Mars, after having executed their separate en- 
tries, unite and form the last entry together, which comprises all 
the others. A chorus of all the voices, and all the instru- 
ments, to the number of forty, accompanies the general dance, 
ana finishes the celebration of the nuptials of Cupid and 

Last Chorus. 

Let us sing the charming pleasures of the happy lovers. 
Let the whole of heaven hasten to pay their court to 
them. Let us celebrate this glorious day by a thousand 
sweet songs of joy ; let us celebrate this glorious day by a 
thousand sweet songs full of love. 


338 PSYCHE. fACTV . 

In the great hall of the Tuileries, where Psyche has been 
represented before their Majesties, there -were kettledrums, 
trumpets, and drums mixed with the last songs; and the last 
song was sung in the following way. 

Let us sing the charming pleasures of the happy lovers. 
Respond to it, ye trumpets, kettledrums, and drums. Be 
always in accord with the sweet sounds of the bagpipes; 
be always in accord with the sweet songs of love. 



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